Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum

The Origin of the universe

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

I've another question. If we could one day ascertain that the Sun were losing energy, do you think we could re-energize it by sending spaceships loaded with nuclear waste (e.g. from atomic energy plants) towards it?

First, you need the comprehend the scale of the issue. It would be like trying to affect a hurricane with a firecracker.

Second, it assumes that the sun actually operates by means of fusion. We have so much to learn about our sun and solar system and galaxy, if we'd only follow the observations, and not erect castles out of computer models.



See a world in a grain of sand,

A heaven in a wild flower,

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,

Eternity in an hour.

We are led to believe a lie,

When we see with and not through the eye,

That was born in a night,

To perish in a night,

When the soul slept in beams of light.

William Blake

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 98
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I've another question. If we could one day ascertain that the Sun were losing energy, do you think we could re-energize it by sending spaceships loaded with nuclear waste (e.g. from atomic energy plants) towards it?

But this is a very good idea for the "what to do with all that nuclear waste" complaint from the greenies. So, once we realize that nuclear can be safe if we'd only disconnect the current codependence of business and government, we can both have an efficient, safe and non-polluting energy source, and it can give us the spare energy to make launch vehicles (aluminum manufacture requires a lot of power) to dispose of the toxic waste in a place that would never be affected.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Actually we should hang onto the waste in case we figure out a use for it.

Also, it's true my gas chamber is a small system. But remember Sir Andrew wanted to know what that creationist was talking about; I was trying to explain the second law of thermodynamics to him. That's the context.

Actually there is no reason to believe that the sun is NOT powered by fusion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad you like my idea, aj.

Steve, I think it would be a function of individual choice. Some power plant owners would prefer to store the waste pending a breakthrough and others would be more comfortable "recycling" it to the Sun. If/when we do find a workable use for the waste, owners should be at liberty to change their disposal policy to take advantage of the new knowledge.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about if the waste is stored in tight well-sealed containers? Even if there were a mis-fire with respect to launching the spaceship, there would not be stuff scattered higgledy-piggledy all over the landscape. Rather, there would containers containing the waste, which could be gathered and sent next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about if the waste is stored in tight well-sealed containers? Even if there were a mis-fire with respect to launching the spaceship, there would not be stuff scattered higgledy-piggledy all over the landscape. Rather, there would containers containing the waste, which could be gathered and sent next time.

And who says one needs to use a rocket to get the waste up to near earth orbit. As soon as we figure out how to weave long enough buckytubes we can build an elevator to space that supplies its own energy. Of course this assumes that governments can protect us from terrorists...and governments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sure as hell would NOT trust any container. Regardless of method, in order to get up there and away from the earth something must be accelerated to seven miles per second. Then once it has escaped earth's gravity, an *additional* 25 miles per second has to be applied to cancel out the earth's orbital velocity, otherwise you are in orbit around the sun, rather than falling into it. This is more delta-V than we have ever put on a rocket, and a space elevator will only help us with the 7 and maybe a little but more, not the 25. So we'd have to put something bigger and heavier than a fully-fueled Saturn 5 into an escape trajectory. (Mind you, it has to get to the escape trajectory with a saturnV load of fuel still in it; remember that the Saturn V was mostly empty on reaching orbit and had dropped most of its stages.) Just to throw away a couple of tons of waste. That's a tall order even for a space elevator. And if you want to use something more exotic like solar sails--well, that wiould take a LONG time to work, meanwhile this nuclear waste is exposed to hazards like debris, micrometeorites, etc.

And I don't think there is any container in the world that would hold containment if it hit something--anything--that fast. If it hit a large enough piece of space debris, you have a problem.

There really is NO reason to be pushing this stuff into the sun.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I think one is unlikely to find concentrated masses (i.e., chunks) of short term radioactives like you'd find in nuclear waste (fission products) floating around out there. Some of it undoubtedly exists in supernova remnants less than 5 thousand years old (to say nothing of exotic trans-uranics, which have been detected in the Crab Nebula) but it's *extremely* diffuse, not in a big lump that if it entered earth's atmosphere would cause problems.

And in any case, if any of that stuff were to reach us before it decayed, the supernova would have been close enough to kill all life on earth anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
This isn't any attempt to question the nature of Objectivist Metaphysics, I am simply genuinely curious about the nature of the origin of the universe. I read A BRIEF HISTORY IN TIME a long time ago, but I have forgotten much of it, and to be honest, I do not think I grasped as much as I should have.

Ok, when we take these two notions as absolutes,

A: The Cause must be greater than the effect (something can't come from nothing)


B: The second law of thermodynamics is that order tends to break down.

where did the matter of the universe originate from, and what established the universe as orderly?

I make no delusions about being an expert in the physical sciences (I am better at the social sciences like history and economics) so if there is a flaw in my reasoning, by all means make the correction. But because I am not very good at it doesn't diminish my interest in science, particularly on the astronomical level. I love this forum and have read nearly all of the threads therein. Call it a bit of a hobby.

You have already answered the question and resolved the mystery and you don't even know it.

If something cannot come from nothing, then there was always something. In other words, there always was an existence. Reality always existed.

---There is no "origin."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 years later...

Posted 22 February 2005 - 05:01 PM - posted by The Wrath

Cause and effect becomes meaningless in the absence of time. Time, itself, began with the big bang. So, it makes no sense to ask "what came before the big bang."


The premise that time began with the big bang commits the Fallacy of The Stolen Concept. The concept of a beginning of some "THING" or some "X" presupposes:

(1) a time A when "X" was not happening

(2) a later time B when "X" started happening.

So the big bang can be the "beginning" of a lot of things, but not of time itself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The progression of time is so ubiquitous to us that it is difficult to talk about, or even imagine exactly, the timelessness of the universe. It seems to me that The Wraith may have made a verbal slip by using "began." The first and third sentences of his post clearly show what he means.

Additionally, I disagree with your reduction of the use of "begin(ning)." It is completely valid to say, "The natural numbers begin with 1.", where "begin" is not associated with the progression of time. Another way to put it would be to say the big bang was the first event in the universe. This means that if you trace all physical events to their preceding cause, you will reach an end (errrr, beginning) at the big bang. In the chain of events between the big bang and now, the big bang is first, so it is the beginning. Time arose with the big bang. See Webster's:


intransitive verb

1: to do the first part of an action : go into the first part of a process : start

2 a: to come into existence : arise b: to have a starting point

On a side note, I wonder if I'll be around in 7 years when someone decides to necro-rebut a post I've made.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jake, thank you very much for your stimulating thoughts.

I disagree with your argument against my definition of beginning. My definition is a temporal definition, whereas you give a counter example for which the concept "begin" does not even have to be used. Number 1 is the lowest valued natural number. To say it "begins" the natural numbers is just a loose conversational statement.

Also, even if you could give a self-consistent definition of the big bang as the beginning of existence (which I have never seen or heard, in my opinion), that would not mean that the specific scientific physical theory that uses the concept is supported by logic over-all or by empirical data, and I do not see any evidence that supports this current standard "CREATIONIST" interpretation of the big bang. I see lots of evidence of a really big explosion, around 15 billion light years in radius, but that is it.

And logically, to say that the big bang was the first event is to say that Existence did not always exist. "Existence exists" has been and always will be true.

Also, I truly expect that very soon, we will start to observe galactic structures that could only have existed BEFORE the big bang event.

As a matter of fact, there are very good candidates now, like the Francis Filament, which is a string of galaxies that either evolved quicker than current laws predict ...

Or this string existed long before the Big bang and hence did not take part in the explosion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are 2 galaxies


which, if they are the product of our Big Bang, could only be 2 billion years old.

The assumption that (1) these galaxies evolved thru their life times in accordance with standard models of galaxy formation and evolution, would (2) contradict that EVERYTHING in existence, including these galaxies, were produced from the big bang. So the Savaglio et al just assume that these galaxies (1) produced stars quicker than anything we now know at their earliest stages, and (2) stop doing so recently, since this is not happening any more.

In other words, they are willing to consider the theory that their theories of galaxy evolution and formation are wrong, but they are not even thinking about the possibility that current galaxy evolution theory is correct, the galaxies are way TOO OLD to have formed from the Big bang, and hence our big bang is running into material from EXPANDING ADJACENT BIG BANG.

Just a theory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here is another possible candidate for a galactic "object" that was not produced from "our Big bang, and this one is a galactic cluster:


12 billion light years away, and hence we are allegedly "seeing" it the way it was 2 billion years after its "birth day" when the big bang happened.

Yet it looks 12 billion light years old. That is, assuming that our verified theory of galaxy formation is correct, the cluster CL J1449+0856 was not born on Big Bang day.

Of course, the current "theory" is that current galaxy formation theory needs to be revised.

But I am considering the alternate theory that cluster CL J1449+0856 was "born" from another different big bang not our own.

I suggest that people scour the internet for other such galaxies, galaxy strings and clusters.

I suspect that these suspiciously OLD formations exist in DROVES 14 billion light years out (and out and out), since that is the EDGE of our big bang "zone."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another comment about the galaxy cluster CL J1449+0856:

(1) Cluster J1449+0856 has the maturity level of the neighboring Virgo Cluster, which is around 11 billion years old.

(2) Yet its position as part of the "flying debris" of the big bang implies it is around 3 billion years old.

Result (1) is based on current Galaxy Evolution Theory, whereas result (2) is based on the "Creationist" big bang theory:

That is, everything came from the big bang, and there is nothing else.

Gobat et al have only one suggestion: revise theory #1.

I entertain the suggestion that one should consider the consequences of revising theory #2.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another angle >>>

If, as Penrose states:


... the current "universe" will condense again and re-ignite another big bang, the consider this: Why would the entirety of the universe be needed to create another big bang?

Why not only 99% or 95% or 80?

Why would the entire content of existence be perfectly balanced to INNFINITE PRECISION, such that only when that last infintely small speck of mass-energy was sucked into the singularity, would there be finally the explosion? Why not at 99.999999% and not at 100%?

Why not at 1%? Why not one-trillionth of one percent? Why can't existence be so vast that our current big bang happened when only one-trillionth-to-the-trillionth-power of one percent of the totality of existence condensed enough to cause an explosion that would span 15 billion light years?

I think "big bangs" are more common in the universe than we know, and they are inimately related to so-called "black holes." Why?

The theory of black holes implies that everything that condenses will ultimately turn into a black hole. Perhaps what we see as a simple black hole, from the outside, looks like a Big Bang, from the inside. Who knows? I do know one thing: Today, we are just not exploring enough ideas critically. Most will be wrong, but reason and science will guide us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Check out:


Notice that in the Penrose theory, the idea is still accepted that all of existence took part in the big bang, although at least he accepts the "eternity" of space and time: the big bang did not start reality. It is a cyclical event in reality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is, unfortunately, the case that, as usual, media can't seem to get their science anywhere near right. CCC does not claim that "the current universe will condense again and re-ignite another big bang".

Penrose is very clear on this in his book and, in fact, goes to great lengths to distinguish CCC from other "oscillating universe" theories.

Yet, in this recent article, we read:

The research by Penrose, who was awarded the 1988 Wolf Prize along with Stephen Hawkings for adding to our cosmic knowledge, adds evidence to the theory that the universe has expanded ('the Big Bang') and contracted ('the Big Crunch') many times.

No, in CCC, Penrose identifies the "big bang" of an aeon with the remote future expanded state of the previous aeon. No "big crunch" and he explains why very clearly in his book. If you don't want to buy it, then read this.

Physically, we may think that again in the very remote future, the universe “forgets” time in the sense that there is no way to build a clock with just conformally invariant material.

This is related to the fact that massless particles, in relativity theory, do not experience any passage of time. We might even say that to a massless particle, “eternity is

no big deal”. So the future boundary, to such an entity is just like anywhere else. With conformal invariance both in the remote future and at the Big-Bang origin, we can

try to argue that the two situations are physically identical, so the remote future of one phase of the universe becomes the Big Bang of the next. This suggestion is my “outrageous” conformal cyclic


Edited by Alfred Centauri
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

The arguments as presented in that link show nothing. At best they show the total gravitational energy of the universe is zero. But again, as presented, they don't even show that, except by assuming what they purport to prove (e.g., stating that the far away object has zero energy, rather than a positive potential energy). I have seen one other argument, more logical and I believe from Richard Feynman, but it was not only of the same type, but got its conclusion by relying on infinite distances. Since the universe is not infinite, the argument falls down. Or to put it another, complementary way, once you allow infinities you can prove anything. Even that 1+1=3.

Edited by Robin Craig
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...