Brazil Scientist Has New Theory for Universe’s Origin, with No Big Bang
The Big Bang is a widely accepted explanation for the origins of the universe; however, Brazilian physicist Juliano Cesar Silva Neves has come up with a new “cyclical” theory, which challenges this prevailing concept.
Neves has proposed a way of overcoming the problem presented by the Big Bang theory, the need for the singularity of spacetime, by doing away with the theory altogether.
In an article entitled, “Bouncing cosmology inspired by regular black holes,” published in the September issue of the General Relativity and Gravitation journal, Neves puts forward the notion that the universe expands and contracts in a cyclical way.
“Herein, bhikkhus, a certain recluse or brahmin, by means of ardour, endeavour, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects his past lives throughout) one aeon of world-contraction and expansion, throughout two, three, four, five, or ten aeons of world-contraction and expansion. (He recalls:) ‘Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.
It certainly implies a somewhat less dramatic Universe; rather than a profileration of singularities, we have a more “even” process that’s less drastically different to what we observe today.
I can’t help but wonder to what extent the difference is theological. Proponents of the various cosmologies have mostly been Western, so fundamentally influenced by Christianity, with its assumption of a single, dramatic and unrepeatable act of Creation. I’m not suggesting that they used Christian ideas consciously, but that this worldview, perhaps unconsciously, predisposes you to look for certain kinds of explanations. The Buddhist, or rather Indic, idea of natural cycles is inferred from nature, weather, and astronomical observation rather than creation theology.
The article raises the issue of how such an approach answers the fundamental problem of how the early universe went from being homogenous to diverse. In other words, how did asymmetry arise, producing the diversity of elements and so on that we see today?
Okay, so now I’ll get way too theological for physics. But if we approach it from a Buddhist perspective, the asymmetry is built in. There are observers present at the time of the reverse of cycles, and observation affects quantum events. And those observers have a built-in asymmetry: desire. They want to exist, to be reborn, and that is what drives differentiation.
In reading a bit around the net, it seems that his answer involves an adjustment he makes to the dynamics of the scale factor in standard cosmological models. He also appears to allow for the possibility of negative energy density. The model must allow for the possibility that the current dark energy dominated phase (which is supposed to have followed the matter-dominated phase, which in turn is supposed to have is followed the radiation dominated phase) can be followed by an additional phase in which the expansion rate first reverts to positive but decelerating, and then turns negative as the scale factor reaches its maximum.
I think this is probably true, but that the influence comes not always as much from the theological beliefs of the cosmologists themselves, as from the pressure of the background society. Earlier physical cosmologists in the modern era, even the Christian ones, seemed perfectly happy to be steady state theorists, and there is no reason why a a steady state model could not have an initial “miraculous” beginning in time. But the desire for greater explanatory closure and dynamical symmetry led to steady state models with no initial moment. The development of Big Bang models probably occasioned a sigh of relief among many scientists, since it allowed for a kind of “detente” with the theologians, and so physical cosmologists were then free to practice their science without as many of the theological headwinds that have bedeviled their colleagues in biology and geology.
However, in the case of geology, eventually most of the theologians simply caved in the face of the overwhelming scientific evidence for an older Earth, and stopped insisting on scriptural literalism in the measurement of geological time, and similar moves have been made by theologians with respect to biology, although there has been longer resistance. One should hope for the same attitudes in cosmology. After all, Thomas Aquinas argued long ago that the both the eternity of the world and the non-eternity of the world were compatible with natural reason and the existence of a creator God, and that the only reason for believing in a beginning in time for the world was scriptural authority. Eventually, most theologians got used to the idea that scripture ought not to be regarded as some kind of scientific text giving a literally correct account of the history of the universe. Buddhists ought to have the same attitude toward their scriptures.
What motivates the search (desire) to find the “beginning”? Is it inherent in “reality”, or a form of scientific conformation bias (we find what we look for – the intentionality of sankhara)? Or both, as the “reality” is (Asian/Chinese micro/macro-cosmic correspondence) a projection of the form (morphe) of human (ἄνθρωπος / anthrópos) life, and the meaning of “reality” centers on our needs.
As in the historical dialectic between creationist religion and science as largely counter-reactive, cultural conditioning is undeniable. Compare the slant given to incipient rational scientific astronomy (turn of the 19th-century) by the German Romantic predilection. (C.f. Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s account in his largely cultural-historical book “Buddhist Romanticism”)
Science seen as a methodology rather than a body of theories, is constantly evolving, in step with cultural evolution. It’s view as to what’s the “frontier” is conditioned, by it’s momentary technology (what it can measure), and by certain aspirations – what we want to find. A classical tangle, thicket, etc. of “views”.
What If the Big Bang Wasn’t the Beginning? New Study Proposes Alternative
Did the unvierse begin with the Big Bang, or has it been expanding and contracting infinitely? A new study argues for the latter…
…Silva Neves said his “cosmological model was built from studies in regular black holes,” and avoids the need for a singularity in both black holes and the beginning of universal expansion. He notes, however, that this is still purely hypothetical.
“There is no empirical evidence for bouncing cosmologies today,” he said. “But there is no evidence for the initial singularity as well.”
The OP seems interested in God of the gaps stuff, except with rebirth. However, speculation is speculative, and based on feeling. So! thanks for the Sutta cite, LucasOliveira; here’s another line from that one:
…that too is only the feeling of those who do not know and do not see; that is only the agitation and vacillation of those who are immersed in craving.
At the time the big bang cosmological model was developed, most cosmologists believed in a steady state theory, and were no means looking for a beginning. The evidence that prompted the development of the model was the observed cosmological redshift, which can be explained by the assumption that galaxies are receding from one another at a rate that is directly proportional to their distance from one another. A consequence of this assumption is that the matter in these galaxies was once in a very dense, very hot state - so hot that the stable atomic structures we observe in the world around us would not be able to exist, and their constituent particles would instead form a plasma. The hypothesis that such a hot and dense state once existed subsequently received some confirmation by the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation.
Of course, this picture could all be turned around by the observation of phenomena that can’t be explained by the presently prevailing models, and by the development of new models generating testable predictions that are then confirmed.
Not as much hangs on these issues, in my opinion, as people often seem to suppose. The exact “shape” of the universe - its spatial and temporal dimensions, the magnitudes along any given dimension, its topology, the presence or absence of boundaries and singularities, etc. - doesn’t have much to do one way or another with the human condition. The pervasiveness of suffering is an observed fact, and will be there whichever cosmological model prevails.
One of the first books I read was by Fred Hoyle, who was a proponent of steady state theory. I was very young when I read it, but at the time it seemed very convincing! That’s what I like about science, new evidence leads to new theories.
Moreover I both comprehend your bourn, Brahmā, and I comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus:
As far as moon and sun revolve in their course
And light up all the quarters with their radiance,
So far extends the thousand-world system:
Here your sway is exercised.
But do you know the distinctions?
The passionate and dispassionate likewise?
The becoming thus, the becoming otherwise,
The coming and the going of beings?
It is thus that I, Brahmā, both comprehend your bourn and comprehend your splendour: Baka the Brahma is of great psychic power thus, Baka the Brahma is of great majesty thus, Baka the Brahma is of great fame thus. But there are, Brahmā, three other classes which you do not know, do not see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Radiant ones from which you have passed away, uprising here; but because of your very long abiding (here), the recollection of it is confused, and because of that you neither know nor see it; I know and see it. Thus I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you? There is, Brahmā, the class called Lustrous ones which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. There is, Brahmā, the class called Vehapphala which you neither know nor see, but which I know and see. Thus again I, Brahmā, am not merely on an exact equality with you as regards super-knowledge; how could I be lower, since I am indeed greater than you?
 MA: Brahma Baka is a Brahma that exercises sovereignty over a thousand worlds, but above it there are Brahmas exercising sovereignty over two, three, four, five, ten thousand and one hundred thousand worlds.