The Big Bang

I like to think I can offer an explanation of sorts for most of the things in physics and cosmology that people find interesting. However the one thing I’m absolutely stumped on is The Big Bang.

I’m happy enough with the expanding universe, because space has its stress-energy. It can be likened to ghostly elastic “stuff”. However it’s unusual and pretty unique. You can wave your hand around in space and it’s like there’s nothing there. But it sustains fields and waves, and you can employ pair production to turn waves into matter. Since space has its vacuum energy and is measured in terms of distance, it isn’t the same as nothing. And since stress is akin to pressure, space has this innate pressure. Since there’s nothing outside the universe to hold the pressure in, the universe expands. It’s just got to.

However, how did it all start? Search me. But here’s a little something I wrote that might prove useful. Or not, as the case may be:


People talk about the heat death of the universe, where everything runs down and the energy is spread so thin that nothing can happen any more. That much is true. They also say the entropy of the universe is increasing. That’s true too. But then they say it’s always been increasing, and there’s the sleight of hand. Do you know what entropy really is? Take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of entropy. You can’t. Because entropy is sameness. It’s an abstraction.

People say that in the early days of the universe, the entropy was very low. But in the early days of the universe, there weren’t any days, because a day is just a standing shadow on a rolling ball of rock. There’s other things too that just aren’t there. People say that when the universe was born it was very very hot. But where was heat before atoms were made? In the radiation I hear you say. Ah, photons. Radiation is photons. So where was heat before photons were made? And where was entropy?

Come back with me to the dawn of time. We stand together in a universe less than 10^−35 seconds old. There are no atoms. There are no photons. There is no motion, there is no heat, there is no time. Everything is the same. Entropy is sameness, so the entropy of this universe is extremely high. There is no matter, because there are no atoms. There is no light, because there are no photons. There is no gravity, because space is uniform. But there is energy. There’s lots of energy. And energy is stress-energy and stress is akin to pressure, so there’s lots of pressure. That’s why you feel something, even within our bubble of artistic license. There’s a yawning shift and something gives. It’s like a movie when I’ve just pressed the play button. Things start moving, because the universe is expanding. Now there’s motion, now there’s ripples, now there’s heat, now there’s photons. Things aren’t the same anymore. Entropy is reducing because the system is expanding, because expansion is motion, so now there’s things, and things are moving.

How fast are they moving? You look to your watch, but your watch is running slow. That’s because the strength of space is so horrendously high that the vacuum impedance is vast. Those photons are travelling at the speed of light, but the speed of light is a creeping crawl. But still the universe expands, and if we could see through the maelstrom we would see that the universe expands to double its size before your watch even ticks. The initial expansion of the universe isn’t particularly rapid. It doesn’t really happen especially fast. Space expands like a compressed elastic solid, there’s nothing beyond the universe to hold it all in. It does it at its own sweet pace, but because space right now is seriously strong, we and everything within the universe are subject to a titanic time dilation. It’s like gravitational time dilation, only there is no gradient so there is no gravity. But it’s time dilation in spades, so the expansion seems fast. They call it inflation. And it comes for free.

I always used to wonder why the early universe didn’t collapse back in on itself under its own gravity. Now I know why. All you need is a stress ball. You can squeeze it down in your fist then let it go and watch it expand. If you could fill it with lumps and stitch it full of knots it won’t expand so fast, but it still expands, it doesn’t contract.

It’s the same with gravity. Black holes don’t suck in space, they suck in stars. So your knots might flock together, but that stress ball isn’t going to squeeze itself down all on its own. Yes as the universe expands the gravity between the galaxies gets weaker, so gravity loses its grip. But it never had any grip on the universe. All it ever had was a grip on the things within the universe. And now it’s got even less, because if you waved your magic wand and made a new mass right here right now, the gravitational tension can’t extend across the entire universe. It hasn’t got time. The universe is getting away from it, like it always was.

Ah, there’s all sorts of wonderful stuff in Cosmology. It’s my favourite branch of metaphysics, and the science of the very large links so well to the science of the very small. If space is not homogeneous is it fair to say that some parts of the universe are older than others? If space is getting weaker, are there any parts of it that are so weak that they just aren’t there any more? Is there really an Axis of Evil and a chirality to the galaxies? If the Earth was formed five billion years ago when intergalactic gravity was twice as strong, was local gravity any stronger and can this be related to jigsaw continental plates? Are gravity waves really the same sort of thing as photons, and does that mean there’s other classes of photons with different amplitudes? If photons are transverse waves, how fast can the transverse action happen? Are there any compression waves that run at twice the velocity of the transverse waves, and is there such a thing as a shockwave that runs faster still? Is that anything to do with inflation? And what about black holes? Ah, black holes…

In order to really understand the Big Bang theory, one has to have an understanding of the mathematics of general relativity. Some of that, at least the requirements for it, can be seen at Ned Wright’s Cosmology Tutorial: .

This fails as an analogy to expanding space, at least as the Big Bang theory is concerned, because there is no increase in tension that accompanies the expansion of space. In fact, there is a decrease in the energy density of the universe, and its effects in general, that accompanies the expansion of space. Adding in some kind of elastic tension component to space would add a new set of mathematical components to physical theories about space, and this would require rigourous mathematical explanation and testing, since it would be required that a great deal of astronomy must be fundamentally incorrect. One should not believe that there is such elastic tension to space without significant and detailed evidence.

This statement is contrary to the standard and accepted scientific explanation of the early universe. (See Kolb and Turner, The Early Universe for a good scientific review, albeit one that’s over 15 years old.) The expansion of the universe in the very early universe was extremely fast, much faster than the speed of light over even very short distances. That this had to be the case is a consequence of the basics of general relativity.

Again, this analogy fails to meet the basics of the description of space as given by general relativity and the Big Bang theory. There is no elasticity to take into account.

This is not an adequate description of the theory of inflation, which is something quite in addition to the standard Big Bang theory and is definitely an addition to standard general relativity. The theory of inflation requires the addition of a special field that will act to further increase the already immense rate of expansion of the universe, at least for a short time.

This also is not the standard science. The reason that the universe did not collapse under its own gravity was that, try as it might, it simply could not overcome the rate of expansion. It did significantly slow expansion, which is why expansion is so far below the speed of light (over short distances) today.

Cosmology is an interesting field, but it is also one where many seek to take advantage of the ignorance of others. Often even well-meaning reporters sensationalize speculation in cosmology because it seems very interesting. I recommend sticking to information provided by people who work in the field and who have their work reviewed by their peers. Ned Wright is one example, but there are many websites out there of actual cosmological investigators or project teams that have decent explanatory sections.

Entropy is not sameness, and it was not high at the beginning of the universe ](*,)

Jesus Christ. Go take one course in thermodynamics; I’d love you to explain that to your professor after you failed your first test. “No, really, this Carnot cycle gets 140% efficiency!”

You’ve misunderstood this, Physbang. The stress-ball is under pressure, it’s squeezed down into a small sphere. When you release it, it expands due to this pressure. It isn’t being inflated like a balloon wherein the tension in the skin increases.

However let’s pursue this by removing the balloon skin. This leaves us with an initial ball of compressed gas, expanding due to pressure, with no inherent tension. The result of this is the vacuum catastophe. We need something else. Now think about the standard model, and the strong force. This does behave like an elastic tension, as per the bag model. Now, conduct low-energy proton-antiproton annihilation yielding two neutral pions thence gamma photons, and ask yourself this: where has the strong force gone? Ask yourself what sustains a wave in space. There’s a tension there, it’s the strong force, it’s in the space, and it takes us from the expanding-ball-of-gas analogy to the stress-ball analogy. It is the correct analogy.

The standard and accepted explanation is wrong. Yes, the initial expansion was extremely fast compared to the local speed of light, but there is no absolute scale. One can equally say that the local speed of light was extremely slow compared to the initial expansion. We know from Einstein’s original papers that according to his general theory of relativity (see viewtopic.php?f=4&t=171501), light goes slower in a region of low gravitational potential, causing curvilinear motion. And we also know that this is where the spatial energy density is higher. So with a very high energy density in the early universe, we can say with certainty that the speed of light was low.

See above.

The Inflaton field is not necessary. All that is necessary, is an understanding of of general relativity.

As above. A gravitational field is a spatial stress-energy gradient typically surrounding a concentration of stress-energy tied up as the matter of a planet. This does not “pull in” the surrounding space, but causes the curvilinear motion of light, essentially making passing stress-energy ripples “veer”. There is no discernible gravity in a region of homogeneous space, and still none when this space is filled homogeneously with light or matter or any other form of energy. Hence the very dense early universe expanded. It did not contract.


Noted. Unfortunately many cosmologists have no understanding of fundamental physics. In consequence, even with peer-review, the result falls short of what we might expect.

Care to comment on how wrong you are about entropy? No?

I’ve misunderstood nothing. Rather, you keep repeating a basic misunderstanding of the relevant physics: there is no tension term in the expansion.

You seem to be mis-using a specific term in physics, “vacuum catastrophe”, here.

You seem to have replaced a bad analogy with a clearly wrong application of physical law: the expansion of the standard cosmological model doesn’t follow the law of the strong force. If you want to say that it does, you need to show the calculations, since you are making a claim about what we should measure when we observe the expansion.

Well, then you’ll have to provide your own explanation that can accurately explain the available data.

You are using a pathological interpretation of Einstein. If you want to show that your interpretation works, let’s see you run the numbers and explain things at least as well as the cosmologists working in the field. Unless you want to simply take it on faith that they are wrong.

If you are going to use a specific term from physics, then you should learn to use it correctly.

Since every textbook, and Einstein’s own writing on cosmology, strongly disagree with your interpretation, you will have to show us your equations governing the early universe and show that they match the available data.

This is an example of the pot calling the kettle black. Or rather, it is an example of the pot calling the sun black. Contemporary cosmology relies on detailed information of theoretical and practical physics; it is insulting to dismiss the claims of cosmologists without offering similar explanations that actually address the available physics and the available data.

I’m not wrong about entropy. See and think it through:

Ice melting in a warm room is a common example of “entropy increasing”. You end up with a glass of tepid water. All the water is at the same temperature. The sameness has increased. The heat death of the universe will occur when “all energy is evenly distributed”. Then there are no differences to cause motion, do work, and power processes, machines, and life. The energy density is uniform throughout the system, and is rather low.

The energy density of the early universe could have been uniform too. There would have been no differences within the system to cause motion, do work, etc. But make the system bigger, and you now have a central region with very high density surrounded by a region of very low density, hence motion, work, etc, can occur.

I’m not. See as regards the mismatch in QFT vacuum energy as opposed to the Voyager data.

What I need to show is the evidence, and I have.

That’s what I’m doing.

I’m not taking anything on faith. People who search for dark matter particles are doing that. I’m sticking to the original Einstein and his inhomogeneous space.

I’ve offered explanations that address the physics and available data. I’ve explained that space has an innate stress-energy, that stress is akin to pressure, and thus the universe expands. I’ve also explained that a gradient in stress-energy density is also inhomogeneous space, which we call a gravitational field. Hence space itself is dark energy, and variations in spatial energy density are what dark matter is. It’s all very simple, and I note that you cannot fault it.

Entropy takes objective order into disarray then into “sameness” (a form of order) which then falls back into disarray through entropy which then falls back into objective order. It is a cycle.

From a situation of high objective order (“Big Bang” almost singularity), entropy increases such as to produce more chaos. But as the chaos reaches a maximum, the entropy continues and pushes the universe into more “sameness” or the order of pure homogeneity of nothingness. But it cannot stay there.

Entropy expresses one half of the universe’s cycling between order and chaos. After the entropy has taken the much larger objects down to many much smaller objects (from Big Bang), a maximum disorder is reached and then passed. The decay and dispersing of energy bundles continues toward the annihilation of all objectiveness (the “Big Cloud”) to a maximum point of homogeneity. After that point, order begins to increase, not as objectivity but rather toward non-existence (the “Big Puddle”, “the Void”). But absolute non-existence cannot occur. Slowly order begins to reestablish because there is nothing left to prevent it and the entire cycle back to maximum order begins again.

The Big Bang is more of an end to the gathering of mass than it is the beginning of the universe, but really it is a half way point between the annihilation of one universe and the beginning of another, the first from a gathering contraction, the second from entropy expansion.

The functions of order and separation form the 2 dimensions of metaphysical reality and are typically expressed as “order and chaos” as one dimension and “singularity and infinite separateness” as the other dimension. Each pole of the 2 dimensions is a logical impossibility thus a dynamic state always exists swaying the current state of the universe between the extremes of the poles. In the exact center of these extremes is the state of absolute balance between order and chaos as well as singleness and separateness.

The exact centered balance is also an impossibility for the same reason that absolute nothingness is impossible. Infinite likeness (“sameness”) is logically impossible regardless of the paradigm. The way to maintain a balance is through harmony between creating and destroying, separating and gathering. But at any one time, there must always be at least slightly more of one extreme than its opponent.

So, your post contains a claim that your previous post is not correct by providing a link that shows that your previous post is incorrect. Your post contains, “However let’s pursue this by removing the balloon skin. This leaves us with an initial ball of compressed gas, expanding due to pressure, with no inherent tension. The result of this is the vacuum catastophe.” This has nothing to do with the vacuum catastrophe.

Your post here contains an obvious falsehood because your posts in this thread contain no evidence that there is a tension term in the kinematics or dynamics of universal expansion. Your posts would have to contain information about the equations governing universal expansion in order to provide such evidence.

Again, your post here contains an obvious falsehood, since your posts contain no data whatsoever and no more-or-less direct references to data.

This is another obvious falsehood, since Einstein’s preferred cosmological models were all homogeneous in one foliation of spacelike hypersurfaces.

Again, an obvious falsehood as there is no data presented in your posts. It is increasingly difficult to believe anything in these posts as they are so obviously contradicted by previous posts.

Again, an obvious falsehood as there is no explanation presented in your posts. A comparison of pressure and stress-energy in this specific case, using the relevant data, would be required in order for this statement to be true.

It is a simple thing to reject this line of reasoning, since it claims, without evidence, that the vast majority of contemporary astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, and gravitational physicists are incorrect. No attempt has been made in these posts to show that this fantastical position can match any of the data collected by astronomers over the last century, or even over the thousands of years of astronomical observation .

No, you think it through:

“There would have been no differences within the system to cause motion, do work, etc.” …what the hell do you call the BIG BANG?

If you read that wikipedia page, you’ll see that entropy is not really a measure of ‘sameness’, but a measure of ‘disorder’. While this is much better definition (you’ve got it backwards), it’s not as precise as saying it’s a measure of how much work a system can do. The ice/water/glass system becomes more chaotic because the ice is becomming more energetic, more random, less ordered, and yes, more similar, too–but the defining characteristic is the system is becomming less able to do work.

If you think that the singularity that spawned the Big Bang was unable to do work, then what do you call the universe?

The heat death of the universe is a ‘death’ because no work can be done if the temperature is the same everywhere. Simple thermodynamics. However, in that same wikipedia page you linked to you’ll see that it’s also postulated that the heat death can’t occur in an expanding universe…I dunno about that, but it’s unimportant to this particular discussion.

Hot and dense and, yes, the same…but clearly something happened that made it not the same. Again, the article says that entropy might not apply on a universal scale. Either way.

I know this stuff because I’m a mechanical engineer and I have a better understanding of what entropy is than you. It’s a real thing, a real consequence of doing work in a system; it increases as you do work, and so the total amount of work you can get out of a closed system decreases. I’ve calculated it and watched it happen in a lab.

Get it, farsight?

More importantly, does this make sense to you, Physbang?

Measuring of blackness is the same as measuring whiteness when it comes to measuring order or measuring chaos (entropy issues). It is ONLY by differences that any work can be done at all. That is why “sameness” or homogeneity cannot produce work nor even exist. The “amount of work” is the “energy”. The sustainability of the work is the mass.

Entropy leads toward no work capability from a maximum work capability, but it does NOT lead to death of work capability, zero energy.

A phase-change. A release, a rupture. I’m not sure what. But the universe went from a very dense homogeneous state into one full of motion, with waves and differences that were magnified by gravity to give us stars and the ability to do work.

Of course I’ve read it. And no, I haven’t got it backwards.

And it’s less able to do work because as you said, it’s more similar. The sameness has increased. The entropy has increased.

What singularity? We don’t know that there was one. And I didn’t mention a singularity. I talked about the very early universe before the big bang, where everything was the same, entropy was very high, and you couldn’t do any work. Then the big bang happens, the system changes radically, and then you can.

And heat is an emergent property of motion. No motion, no heat, no work. Simple. Come on Anthem, you know this.


No, not hot. There is no heat if there is no motion. Think of a block of C4 explosive, frozen, with no molecular/atomic motion because it’s at 0 degrees Kelvin. Now detonate it, and now you’ve got heat and motion and a very high temperature.

No you don’t.

No it isn’t. It’s merely a measure of the relative state of real things.

I get it. You can do work because there are differences within the system. These equalize as you do work. Then the differences are diminished, and the entropy increases. The sameness increases. Now come on, think it through.

No it doesn’t. A ball of compressed gas is very different to the stress-ball. It has no innate tension, and thus expands far more rapidly. The universe doesn’t, because the strong force is what keeps space together. The difference is what we know as the vacuum catastrophe.

There is no “obvious falsehood”. We have evidence for the strong force, we have evidence for low-energy proton-antiproton annihilation, we have evidence that space sustains waves and that the universe expands.

There’s oodles of evidence. See How Gravity Works and Time Explained re Shapiro, GPS, Pound-Rebka, time dilation, the NIST clock, Einstein, VSL. It’s all there. Please try to be rational and scientific about it instead of dismissive.

I’ve read about the bouncing universe elsewhere James. See for example I have to say I’m not convinced about this.

I’ve read many theories about the conception of the universe, but they are just theories… albeit interesting.

A) There is no logical alternative.
B) Given our understanding of physics, I don’t see how it could be avoided.

It’s repeatable so of course, just to be certain, we could wait and take videos. #-o

This paragraph seems to be not simply one of inconsistency, but a significant scientific fraud. The claims that the “difference is what we know as the vacuum catastrophe” is making a claim unsupported by any person other than the author, thus the claim to the first-person plural, seemingly a reference to the physics community, is not simply false but an attribution of the knowledge of the scientific community that one who studied the subject must know to be false.

This paragraph is an example of dodging the issue of having no evidence for a position while at the same time discussing the evidence of others for radically different position. The author has made no attempt to provide evidence that these ideas have anything to do with each other aside from being discussed by physicists.

Note again, the author seeks to dismiss the conclusions of the vast majority of contemporary astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, and gravitational physicists by mentioning, but not properly citing or analyzing, a handful of available results without making any attempt to show how the data provided by the results turns into evidence for a particular theory. Despite the fact that the post contains an appeal to scientific rationality, the post itself offers nothing but yet another shell game rather than a genuine attempt to provide an explanation. This writer is surprised that the post does not include yet another attempt by the post’s author to sell his book.

“Blah blah blah, I’m going to ignore you and say the same thing and hope that I’m right and you’ll agree with me.”

So, allow me to say it again: You’re not right, it’s not sameness, and I know more about entropy than you do."

I’ll say a few new things, though.

Let’s take an ice cube and put it in a box with a hot piece of iron and close the lid. The iron will heat the air by radiation, convection, and conduction, and that hotter air plus the radition will cause the ice cube to melt. What exactly is becomming more similar, here? Is it the water trying to become gaseous like the air? No, that can’t make sense because the iron is cooling down, making it more solid and more similar to what the ice cube just was and less similar to what the air is.


Following your C4 example, let’s consider a block of it. That has a lot of entropy according to you because it’s the same. Now let’s attach a detonator to it. Well…the system is still basically the same. If we took a measurement of the entropy of the system, according to you, it would still be very high because most of the mass is in the C4 and not the detonator.

Now, if we divided the block in half and then connected the detonator again, the entropy would be lower according to you because it was more dissimilar. Yet, we know that this system can do less work…