John Lennox is my hero!

April 30, 2015

john_lennox

I promise this will be my last Unbelievable?-related post for a while. In this episode, Oxford mathematics professor and apologist John Lennox debates atheist Lawrence Krauss, a physics professor at Arizona State University.

William Lane Craig debated Krauss in a series of three debates in Australia a couple of years ago. During at least one of those debates, Krauss resorted to juvenile tactics such as using a buzzer to interrupt Craig’s presentation. Frankly, I worried how the ever-congenial Lennox would fare, stylistically, in the face of Krauss’s aggressive antics.

Among other things, Krauss isn’t good at letting his debate opponents finish their sentences.

The verdict? John Lennox is my hero (and not just because he looks like my dad)! Sanguine, firm, and unfazed, Lennox adroitly handles every challenge and objection, while sounding as if he wants to give Krauss a bear hug! How does he do it?

I want to have that kind of poise when I argue! He inspires me.

(Tom Harkins, I think you’ll like this one!)

A YouTube video of the audio is embedded below.

17 Responses to “John Lennox is my hero!”

  1. Tom Harkins Says:

    Well, I did listen to the whole debate. It was pretty good. Lawrence is hard to debate against as he constantly “jumps in.” It seems he takes the position primarily that since God is not necessary to anything that exists, there is no reason to believe in him. This, of course, is actually a “God of the gaps” argument, as John correctly points out, even though Lawrence denies this. Lawrence also suggests that there is no “substance” to the idea of God, but obviously that is incorrect–you can’t even argue “against” the existence of God without having some idea of what it is you are saying does not exist. (For example, I can’t argue one way or the other whether “quaffles” exist because I have no earthly idea what a “quaffle” would be if it did exist.) What Lawrence actually “believes” is that the God portrayed by the Bible does not exist, as he does not need to exist to explain anything.

    If given the time, I imagine that John would have been able to show that there are a lot of things that God is “better explanatory” of than “nothing” is. (In fact, ANYTHING is better explained by God than “nothing” is.) And he did get some of that in. The order of things. The existence of logic. The existence of the capacity to observe and appreciate things. Etc.

    One thing I differ from John on (at least, as I think he believes from some comments, though he may have been “assuming for purposes of argument”) is that God is better proof of evolutionary views of the universe and man than “nothing” is. Of course, in one sense that is correct, as nothing explains exactly nothing. However, evolution is much weaker as a thing better explained by God than “special creation” is. That is, things being created “full grown” is much better explained by God’s existence than a “slow, evolutionary process” is. So, the question is, which is a more likely explanation for the actual “things as we see them currently exist”–God saying, “Let there be [highly detailed things] and there was”; or, God saying, “Let there be an explosion and things went from there.” The latter is very poorly explanatory, and therefore less likely to be true. So, we get a much stronger proof for “the God of the Bible” existing if we believe in “special creation,” as indicated in Genesis 1 & 2, than if we believe in “evolutionary process,” as some scientists urge. Therefore, it actually is of some importance to show the strength of “special creation” as better explanatory when we attempt to persuade about God’s existence, IMO.

    Incidentally, did I ever email you my book (unpublished) in which I argue against evolution? If not, let me know and I will see if I still can “find it” on the computer and send it.

    • brentwhite Says:

      I’m pretty sure John would say (as would I) that the extent to which some sort of evolution happened can’t BEGIN to explain how we got here. I’ve heard him talk about DNA as being inexplicable from a Darwinian point of view.

      I started reading your book a while back. Can you summarize its main arguments?

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        I start with arguing that “naturalist assumptions” are actually contrary to the “scientific method” because they rule out a priori other explanations, even if they “explain better.” I further note that if evolution can be disproved, then this is a major step toward believing in God because evolution is basically the “atheist’s alternative” to creation as the explanation for life and the universe as we observe them to be.

        Next, I undertake to critique various evolutionary claims. I argue that “Big Bang” actually violates natural laws that we otherwise agree with, such as gravity, the special theory of relativity (universe can’t “expand” at greater than the speed of light), and thermodynamics. I also argue that it is basically inconsistent with the initial claims of “Big Bang” itself for stars to have formed, as well as planets, and particularly the earth and the moon. Further, the elements of the periodic table don’t fit with an evolutionary claim of development. Etc.

        Continuing, I argue that (a) there is no predicate in evolution which can explain how life could arise from “non-life”; (b) things would in fact be LESS likely to survive in their “intermediate” states; (c) there are no “intermediate” fossils whereas there should be millions, and the few supposed “monkeys to man” fossils don’t measure up; and (d) there is no predicate in evolution to explain “consciousness,” intelligence, and contemplation.

        Having dispensed with “lynchpins” of evolutionary theory, I suggest that creation is a much more logical alternative explanation. Then I deal with a couple of challenges to creationism, specifically “apparent age” (which I rebut by showing that the Bible claims things were created “full grown,” such as Adam and Eve, so we can’t necessarily “count backwards” from normal developments presently and get the “starting point”) and fossils (which I attempt to explain in terms of Noah’s Flood).

        Finally, I become specifically evangelistic by pointing out “the purpose of it all,” explaining how the Bible and its message are “logical deductions” from the theory of creationism.

        So, that’s it, in summary!

      • brentwhite Says:

        You can safely place me in the category of “evolution skeptic,” which means, if you’ll recall, I’ve come a long way over the past five years! I don’t believe evolution happened on any large scale. Unlike you, I’m still happy to accept that evolution may have happened to a limited degree under God’s guidance. I find William Lane Craig’s discussion of it on his Defenders podcast persuasive: he argues that the language of Genesis 1, with words such as “let the earth bring forth” could imply something gradual rather than all at once. But I wouldn’t be dogmatic one way or another.

        What has made me skeptical of evolution, however, is a few things: No layperson really understands it. I mean, they might can recite one or two things they learned from their ninth grade biology textbook, but that doesn’t count as understanding anything. All they’re doing—all any of us is doing—is trusting the word of authorities. This makes me uncomfortable.

        Honestly: I’m sick of evolutionists telling the American public how dumb we all are for not believing in evolution, when those who do believe in it don’t understand it any better than anyone else: they’re just taking the word of authorities. And what these authorities tell us often sounds to my ears like “just so” stories that can never be subjected to any kind of testing. Honestly, listen to Richard Dawkins when he’s talking about some aspect of “evolutionary psychology”: it’s laughable how wildly speculative he sounds!

        On the contrary, from what I understand, biologists are always retroactively making the evidence fit the theory—and what they find is rarely what anyone predicts. So they just modify their theory.

        I guess what I’m saying is, evolution can never be disproven: the “facts” of evolution can simply be used to accommodate any evidence biologists find. Right? No one has ever seen a hint of evolution in the lab, even after thousands (millions?) of generations of fruit flies. (And, don’t worry, I’m sure there’s some “just so” story why that is, too.)

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        I’m glad you’ve “come a long way”! Recollecting from the old “psnt” days! I agree with most of what you say here. However, I don’t think it is necessarily true that “evolution can never be disproven.” If you mean, for every error you point out, some “new theory” will be advanced, then I tend to agree with you. But, what I would say is, if you punch holes in enough of the theory, then someone would then become at least “unreasonable” in continuing to hold to the “theory.”

        I read on the internet not too long ago that “Big Bang” was being reconsidered in some quarters; instead, that the universe “always was.” But these two are so totally incompatible that any reasonable person would have to say that at least one of these two proponents HAS to be wrong. In the same way, I would argue that if some “scientist” (whatever it is that qualifies someone for such an appellation) says, “the universe initially expanded at some exponential rate in excess of the speed of light,” and someone else (such as Einstein) says, “no matter can be accelerated to in excess of the speed of light,” somebody HAS to be “fibbing.” In this case, I would go with Einstein, who among other things appears to have been corroborated by the atomic bomb (as I understand it, anyway). Thus, if there are currently 15 major tenets of evolution supposedly explaining “from start to now,” and I can show that 10 of them are demonstrably in contradiction to “well-established” rules of science in specific disciplines, then I ought to be able to say that I have “disproved” evolution. (Not that any “devoted” evolutionist would agree, but that an “unbiased” third party would see it that way. At least, such is my hope!)

        Finally, I do think this is a subject on which it is “worth the fight.” Specifically, I think that there are a bunch of people who conclude that there is no need to bring God into the picture because scientists have “explained everything” in terms of evolution. For such persons, if I can “jolt them awake” by “disproving” (or at least, casting substantial doubt upon) evolution, they may suddenly realize that there must be some other explanation, and the only good alternative out there is “God” (and then I can argue for the God of the Bible, as opposed to “some other kind”). Hence, this is why I keep hammering on the point, and even disagree with some “luminaries” in Christian circles who are willing to go with some brand of “theistic” evolution. To me, there is too much of, “I don’t want to be branded as a ‘fundamentalist’ who opposes ‘science,’ and hence get discredited,” and not enough of, “Well, I see a whole bunch of holes here, so I need to distance myself from such ‘science falsely so called,’ (to quote the King James), and see if I can read the world consistently with a more or less ‘plain reading’ of scripture itself.” IMHO. 🙂

      • brentwhite Says:

        But the reason physicists like Stephen Hawking are trying to find an alternative to the Big Bang, I think, is because they don’t like saying that our universe had a beginning—because it sounds too much like Genesis. They want to believe it’s “past eternal,” as if that were possible.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        I agree with that motivation for asserting “eternal,” and that, absent such new theorizing, one would have to, by necessity, accept a “beginning,” which is problematic to those “scientists” without a “starter.” However, I can imagine such newer theorists positing that WE have a problem with asserting God exists “from eternity past,” and they are just “substituting” the one for the other. Wrongheaded, obviously, especially given the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But in any event, since the vast majority of the secular scientific community believes in “Big Bang,” and believes you can have that without God, I still believe it is worth the effort to point out the fallacies of such theorizing. If, rather than turn to God as a result, as they should, they turn to Hawking (or whomever), then we just have Satan stealing the seed from the rocky path. Nevertheless, I have to “keep believing” that there are some types of “soil” out there who are willing to follow a logical argument and “see the error of the ways.” We do have a few “famous atheists” who became great saints, after all.

      • Morbert Says:

        Tom, would you be willing to elaborate on why you think the Big Bang violates natural laws that we otherwise agree with?

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        Morbert, note my reference to “gravity, the special theory of relativity (universe can’t ‘expand’ at greater than the speed of light), and thermodynamics” above. As to gravity, its strength varies according to mass and distance between the objects. At the “moment” of the “Big Bang”, all the mass would have been concentrated at a singularity (or very small “object”). Therefore, gravity would have been at its maximum possible strength at that moment. Instead of “exploding outward”, the mass would have “shrunken” to an even smaller singularity (were that possible), similar to the theory of “black holes.”

        As to the second, the point is self-evident. If no physical object can be accelerated to a speed in excess of the speed of light in a vacuum, then the “mass” that was “moving away” from the “point of origin” could not have expanded at millions of times the speed of light (as I have seen hypothesized). It is no answer to say (as I saw referenced in the same source, by a British astrophysicist) that the mass was merely being “carried on for the ride” as the “universe itself” expanded. Regardless of the characterization, objects “within” the universe would be moving away from the point of origin at up to the speed of expansion. Question: If the speed of light was not the maximum then, then when did it become so, and as to what? This “universal expansion” theory solves nothing.

        Third, the Second Law of Thermodynamics states, among various formulations, that in a closed system the degree of “organization” moves from greater to lower. Yet Big Bang has the universe proceeding from no organization at all to the highly complex systems of organization that now exist. Since the universe itself is a closed system, then this should not be possible, if the Second Theory is correct.

        So, these are some of the “natural laws that we otherwise agree with” which are violated by the Big Bang theory.

      • Morbert Says:

        Some comments:

        The expanding universe model is inferred from solutions to Einstein’s field equations. Spacetime expansion is a feature of theory of gravitation (general relativity), as can be seen by looking at the FLRW solution ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedmann%E2%80%93Lema%C3%AEtre%E2%80%93Robertson%E2%80%93Walker_metric ). The Big Bang was not simply a clump of matter under Newtonian gravity that exploded one day. That would be absurd. Indeed, many apologists like William Lane Craig acknowledge as much, and rest their cosmological arguments on the validity of general relativity and the Big Bang.

        Special relativity, as the name implies, applies to special circumstances (namely, the physics in inertial reference frames). An example of where special relativity fails is the GPS in your phone (more on that later). General relativity is the generalised form of special relativity. If you want to argue that the Big Bang violates the laws of physics, you will have to argue that it violates general relativity. This will be a challenging task, as it follows directly from general relativity.

        The speed of light is locally invariant, but not globally invariant. If you were to measure the speed of a photon high above you, for example, you would observe it travelling faster than the speed of light. The GPS in your mobile phone takes this into account. Every time you use GPS, you are validating general relativity over special relativity.

        The second law of thermodynamics does indeed, loosely speaking, say the universe proceeds from an ordered to a disordered state. But the big bang was not a disordered state. This is also a point acknowledged by the more respected Christian Apologists like WLC. The early universe was highly ordered. Indeed, if speculative theories of quantum gravity turn out to be correct, the disorder of the early universe would have been 0.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        Totally unconvincing. First, Astrophysicist John Gribbin, in his book Genesis: The Origins of Man and the Universe, says the universe expanded 4 light years in the first 0.1 second. Pg. 34. He then acknowledges that it is “ingrained in the heart of relativity” that the speed of light is “the ultimate ‘speed limit.'” Id. So how does he get around this problem? “[T]he point is that the limit applies to matter moving through space-time, while the expansion of the Universe involves the evolutionary change of space-time itself.” Id. Matter is “just carried along for the ride.” Id. Gribbin is a professor at Cambridge (or was when he wrote the book). So, his theory of Big Bang recognizes the problem, then comes up with a nifty way to solve it, which holds no water, since in the “expansion” matter would still be moving away from the point of origin at millions of times the speed of light. You mention GPS. As I recall, light travels at 186,000 miles per second, right? In other words, it can circumnavigate the world multiple times in a single second. I guess you could explain to me how the functioning of GPS can only occur if matter is accelerated to beyond the speed of light, since I seem to be a little slow on the uptake on that. Also, any such “traffic ticket” violation would obviously come nothing close to matter being accelerated millions of times the speed of light. What is it about general relativity that contradicts special relativity to allow for such an amazing difference?

        Gravity. Again, I seem to be ignorant. Are you saying that gravity just “worked differently back then”? That is just the point I am making. For Big Bang to work, all the “rules” that we “normally” work under would have to have been “different” at Big Bang time. So, that is why I say Big Bang contradicts natural laws that we all recognize.

        Finally, complexity. At the Big Bang origin, you have the very most simple “organization” possible–hydrogen atoms and “dust” spewing outward. How can that level of complexity or organization compare even simply to that of the uranium atom, much less the human brain? So, I remain unconvinced that Big Bang theory is consistent with the Second Law.

  2. Morbert Says:

    Surely you must see the problem with quoting loose phrases like “ingrained in the heart of relativity”. Relativity is very specific about what it says regarding the speed of light, and we must go straight to the theory itself in order to understand it. There are 2 postulates to special relativity. They are:

    1.) The laws by which the states of physical systems undergo change are not affected, whether these changes of state be referred to the one or the other of two systems of coordinates in uniform translatory motion. OR: The laws of physics are the same in all inertial frames of reference.

    2.) As measured in any *inertial frame of reference*, light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c that is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body. OR: The speed of light in free space has the same value c in all inertial frames of reference.

    The speed of light is the same for all observers in inertial reference frames. An inertial reference frame is a frame where spacetime is homogeneous. The Big Bang involves highly curved spacetime, and so is not homogeneous. Even your reference frame on earth is not inertial, which I will discuss in the context of your GPS question.

    >> I guess you could explain to me how the functioning of GPS can only occur if matter is accelerated to beyond the speed of light

    A GPS system requires careful signal synchronisation between your device on the ground and a satellite to work. These signals are carried by photons. Because you, on the ground, observe photons around the satellites travelling faster than the speed of light, your device must take this into account in order to give an accurate reading.

    But there is an even simpler example. When you look up at the night sky, the stars you see are travelling many times the speed of light in your non-inertial reference frame.

    >> So, his theory of Big Bang recognizes the problem, then comes up with a nifty way to solve it

    One thing I cannot stress enough is that expansion was not invented as some ad hoc solution to make the Big Bang work. Quite the opposite. When Einstein saw that General Relativity suggested the Big Bang, he thought his theory was wrong, and added an ad hoc constant to try to get rid of the Big Bang.

    >> Are you saying that gravity just “worked differently back then”?

    Certainly not. Gravity worked the same then and now. Instead, I’m saying the Newtonian idea of gravity you might have learned in school is a useful approximation for some things, but it is ultimately wrong. Not just that it was wrong back then. It is wrong now. It gives the wrong predictions for Mercury’s orbit, for example. It was actually observations of Mercury’s orbit that affirmed General Relativity

    >> At the Big Bang origin, you have the very most simple “organization” possible–hydrogen atoms and “dust” spewing outward. How can that level of complexity or organization compare even simply to that of the uranium atom, much less the human brain?

    The short answer: Gravity.

    The longer, more helpful answer: This is where we need to start getting a bit technical, as the thermodynamic quantity “entropy” the laws of physics reference does not always correlate with our intuitive notion of disorder. When there is no gravity, a uniform dust is highly disordered in the sense that it has maximum entropy. Its disorder will not increase with time, nor will it decrease. When there is gravity, however, a uniform dust is not highly disordered, and will evolve into clumps (let’s call them “stars and planets”). While these clumps are forming “entropy is increasing”, and products of this increasing entropy are elements (formed in stars) and chemicals (formed on planets) and all that follows.

    If there was no gravity, dust would indeed remain lifeless dust.

    As an aside, the Big Bang didn’t throw out dust or hydrogen, that stuff didn’t come until much later.

    As a 2nd aside, the Big Bang didn’t happen at a point. It happened everywhere. The concept of a big bang as a random explosion in a void is an unfortunate consequence of poor teaching practices, and an attempt to conceptually simplify a nuanced theory.

    • Tom Harkins Says:

      Well, we are at a point of impasse. You give as a proof of matter going faster than the speed of light GPS, based on the appearance of “photons” (light?) going faster than the “speed of light.” So I don’t follow. I particularly don’t follow because you are likely referencing some relatively “trivial” difference–not millions of times as fast, and not matter being accelerated that fast.

      I am aware that Newtonian gravity is not 100% accurate at the extremes. Again, however, those are only at the extremes, and even the observable extremes show nothing whatsoever observable as matter being accelerated millions of times the speed of light. So gravity would HAVE to be operating differently from how we see it act now to have allowed for the Big Bang to start with.

      If Big Bang did not get around to the relative complexity of hydrogen atoms and dust until a few moments after blast-off, then that should make my Second Law argument even stronger.

      Finally, as to the “happened everywhere,” I’m sure I don’t follow. I guess you mean that the Big Bang took up the entire universe. So, all that could mean was that the entire universe was a singularity which then expanded. As it expanded, it certainly expanded with mass within it moving along millions of times the speed of light. That is what special relativity prohibits. I really don’t get how general relativity is supposed to totally blast special relativity out of the water. As an aside, what DOES special relativity govern? In your view, it does not even govern star movement to this very day, right?

      P.S. I think Big Bang is contrary to star formation as well, not explanatory of it.

    • Tom Harkins Says:

      Also, perhaps you can explain why gravity, which strengthens in intensity to pull objects together based on mass and distance, would have failed to “hold together” the entire mass of the universe as contained within a singularity, as opposed to assisting in its DISPERSION. Doesn’t that prove my point that gravity would have had to “operate differently” at that juncture?

    • Morbert Says:

      > I particularly don’t follow because you are likely referencing some relatively “trivial” difference–not millions of times as fast, and not matter being accelerated that fast.

      A typical GPS has an accuracy of around 15 metres. If you neglect general relativity when programming a GPS, you would introduce an error of 11 km each day.

      More generally speaking, there are three relevant and completely uncontroversial facts.

      1) General relativity is the more correct, more complete version of special relativity.

      2) General relativity does not say the speed of light is globally invariant.

      3) The expansion of space was an implication of relativity before the Big Bang was discovered.

      Here is a fairly detailed introduction: Particularly relevant is the section “Speed of light as measured by non-inertial observers” ( http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/Relativity/SpeedOfLight/speed_of_light.html ).

      > If Big Bang did not get around to the relative complexity of hydrogen atoms and dust until a few moments after blast-off, then that should make my Second Law argument even stronger.

      But you have not made an argument. You have simply declared it to be so. I suspect you are confusing the thermodynamic quantity referenced by the 2nd law, ‘entropy’, with your own intuitive understanding of disorder. The problem is not with any violation of the 2nd law. The problem is with your account of the 2nd law.

      > As an aside, what DOES special relativity govern? In your view, it does not even govern star movement to this very day, right?

      Special relativity is valid in “inertial” reference frames ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inertial_frame_of_reference ).

      Loosely speaking, special relativity is valid in scenarios where spacetime is flat and not dynamical.

      Even more loosely speaking, special relativity governs areas when there is no gravity (or negligible gravity), like a laser lab on earth or a particle accelerator.

      > Doesn’t that prove my point that gravity would have had to “operate differently” at that juncture?

      The primary lesson of general relativity is that gravity is a result of the curvature of spacetime, but it is not the only feature of spacetime. By solving Einstein’s field equations, we discover all sorts of features of space and time. One of those features is expansion, as described by the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker solution to Einstein’s field equations.

      I.e. It’s not that gravity was different in the past. It’s that the pull you associate with gravity is only one of many phenomena predicted by general relativity.

      But with that said, keep in mind that even general relativity fails to correctly describe the big bang. For that, we need a quantum theory of gravity.

      • Tom Harkins Says:

        Probably reaching the point of “diminishing returns” in this debate, but I thought I would make a few more points nonetheless. First, you suggest that 11 km a day off for GPS is, apparently, something substantial. What I was getting at is how this apparent discrepancy measures up compared with matter being accelerated millions of times the speed of light. Obviously no comparison, which is my point as to “trivial.”

        Second, I thought you had earlier acknowledged my formulation of the Second Law as being stated in one formulation of it the decline of “organization”–not just something I cooked up. There is no question whatsoever that if the Big Bang spewed out as being some mass/energy constituency even less organized than hydrogen atoms and dust, then I am well-grounded in suggesting that the Big Bang does violate that conception of the Second Law.

        Third, I admit to a little confusion as to your explanation of special relativity’s application when consideration is given to it in Big Bang analysis. You say that special relativity applies only in the absence of gravity. As I recall from my understanding, the effect of gravitational force is that it could SLOW DOWN the speed of light from what it would be in a “vacuum,” not speed it up millions of times. Also, you keep ignoring (as it seems to me, in any event) that what I am relying upon is MATTER not being able to be accelerated past the speed of light, as opposed to the speed of light itself altering its rate depending on gravity or other factors. (Also, isn’t it true that the correlation between mass and the speed of light under special relativity results in the famous e=mc2 formula that was verified in Hiroshima?)

        Fourth, and again I may not be fully “in the know” as to the details of the matter, but I am not arguing that the universe is static, as opposed to expanding, nor that it is not “curved.” So, to that extent I don’t have a problem with the “field equations” conclusion; however, if the supposed result of such “equations” is that they demonstrate mass being accelerated to millions of times the speed of light, then special relativity must be simply a “dead letter”; whereas, it was apparently vindicated in Hiroshima, as I said.

        Finally, I think it is very interesting that you conclude with “even general relativity fails to correctly describe the big bang. For that, we need a quantum theory of gravity.” This sets your arguments on their head, it seems to me. I thought you had been arguing that my view of the rules of special relativity could not countermand Big Bang because general relativity governs instead. Now you say, well, general relativity cannot explain–we need some even more new and novel theory to do it. What I say is, Big Bang is in fact violative of the theories we otherwise accept, as above.

      • Morbert Says:

        Sorry for late reply. Completely forgot.

        > I was getting at is how this apparent discrepancy measures up compared with matter being accelerated millions of times the speed of light.

        Sure, one is orders of magnitude more obvious. What is important regarding the topic at hand is that Einstein’s theory of relativity is not violated by the expansion of space, and that relativity actually predicted the expansion of space before any observational evidence was obtained. Einstein was so shocked at the prediction, he artificially added an extra number to try to get relativity to predict static spacetime.

        > Second, I thought you had earlier acknowledged my formulation of the Second Law as being stated in one formulation of it the decline of “organization”–not just something I cooked up.

        Sure. Disorganization is a good heuristic for the 2nd law in most cases. When we have gravitational degrees of freedom, however, things become less intuitive, and we must use the more precise definition of entropy, which is a measure of the number of microstates a system can be in while still exhibiting the same macroscopic properties.

        > There is no question whatsoever that if the Big Bang spewed out as being some mass/energy constituency even less organized than hydrogen atoms and dust, then I am well-grounded in suggesting that the Big Bang does violate that conception of the Second Law.

        As mentioned in a previous post, what you are not taking into account is the effect gravity has on our measure of entropy. According to the 2nd law, a universe with nothing but a uniform hydrogen dust is more ordered, not less, than a universe with planets. This is because gravity can act on the dust.

        http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/entropy.html

        > the effect of gravitational force is that it could SLOW DOWN the speed of light from what it would be in a “vacuum,” not speed it up millions of times

        It slows down light from the perspective of an observer floating in space, far from the gravitational well. It speeds up from the perspective of the person in the gravitational well, observing a lab far from the well. This is because gravitational time dilation ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gravitational_time_dilation ) speeds up time for bodies away from gravity wells.

        > Finally, I think it is very interesting that you conclude with “even general relativity fails to correctly describe the big bang. For that, we need a quantum theory of gravity.” This sets your arguments on their head, it seems to me. I thought you had been arguing that my view of the rules of special relativity could not countermand Big Bang because general relativity governs instead.

        The Big Bang has two meaning that are not quite identical. 1) The actual “moment” of the “creation” of the universe. 2) The expansion of the universe that continues to this day.

        General relativity has no problem with 2). I.e. The expansion of the universe is a classical cosmological feature. This expansion is described by general relativity.

        However, general relativity fails at 1). This is because contemporary physics contains two theories that work well separately, but are hard to get working together. They are relativity (Which describes gravity and cosmology), and the quantum theory of particles (which describes high-energy, small-scale events). The Big Bang of 1) is a phenomenon that contains both strong gravitational forces, and small scale events. Trying to get a theory of gravity and a theory of quantum events is what motivates more exotic fields in physics like quantum gravity ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_gravity )


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