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Has the ‘smoking gun’ of the ‘big bang’ been found?

Media headlines make people think that some astounding scientific ‘proof’ has been discovered. The reality is far less spectacular.

NASA mw7b


Published: 20 March 2014 (GMT+10)

“Astronomers Just Detected the Beginning of the Big Bang”, “Big Bang’s Smoking Gun Found”, “Astronomers Discover First Direct Proof of the Big Bang Expansion” and “Major Discovery: Smoking Gun for Universe’s Incredible Big Bang Expansion Found” were some of the headlines on Monday 17 March 2014 around the web-based news media.

One article described it as follows:

Radio astronomers operating telescopes at the South Pole said Monday that they’ve discovered evidence that the universe ballooned out of the Big Bang due to a massive gravitational force generated by space itself. The discovery is being called the “smoking gun” for the Big Bang theory, and it could have huge implications for our understanding of our universes [sic] (and possible others).
Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist John M. Kovac and his team detected gravitational waves—tiny ripples in the fabric of space—that could be the first real evidence for the ‘inflation’ hypothesis of how the universe basically bubbled into being nearly 14 billion years ago. The discovery also suggests that our 14 billion light-years of space aren’t all that’s out there—our universe could be a tiny corner of something much, much bigger.

In short, the claim is this. The universe began in a big bang nearly 14 billion years ago, but because of various problems encountered with the ‘standard’ cosmological model for the origin of the universe, the idea of a super-rapid inflation was suggested to have occurred in the first miniscule period of time after the big bang. Wikipedia states:1

In physical cosmology, cosmic inflation, cosmological inflation, or just inflation is the expansion of space in the early universe at a rate much faster than the speed of light. The inflationary epoch lasted from 10−36 seconds after the Big Bang to sometime between 10−33 and 10−32 seconds. Following the inflationary period, the universe continued to expand, but at a slower rate.
The term ‘inflation’ is used to refer to the hypothesis that inflation occurred, to the theory of inflation, or to the inflationary epoch. The inflationary hypothesis was originally proposed in 1980 by American physicist Alan Guth, who named it ‘inflation’. On 17 March 2014, astrophysicists of the BICEP2 collaboration announced the detection of inflationary gravitational waves in the B-mode power spectrum, providing strong evidence for Guth’s theory of inflation and the Big Bang.2,3

The problems that inflation was proposed to solve are:

1. Why is the universe flat? That means, why is its geometry Euclidean? We experience such a universe but there is no good reason for that to be so.
2. Why is matter (the galaxies) uniformly distributed everywhere (i.e. homogeneous on the largest scales) and the same in every direction (isotropic)?
3. Why are there no magnetic monopoles detected, when the Grand Unified Theory (GUT) predicts them in the early big bang universe?
4. Why is the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation so uniform in all directions in the sky? It is at a uniform 2.72548±0.00057 K temperature, but that is a problem because the radiation has not had an opportunity to mix up bringing the temperature of the universe into equilibrium. This has been called the horizon problem. For these and other reasons inflation comes to the rescue.

But what really caused inflation, that rapid initial expansion? What caused the sudden start and smooth stopping of the process? What is the physics behind it? The particle physics mechanism responsible for inflation is unknown. A hypothetical particle or field thought to be responsible for inflation is called the inflaton, an ‘unknown’ proposed to solve the above problems. It has been given a name and certain properties, the rest is unknown.

Now it is claimed that from inflation theory they have a prediction that has been verified by observations.

What have they detected?

The question is, if you could discover what this inflaton field or particle is, would you have evidence for the big bang? Well, no, it is not that simple. Consider what is being observed. The CMB radiation is being studied and a map of a certain polarization mode in the noise from that photon field is teased out using numerous statistical filtering methods.

Did they ‘directly’ observe the big bang? Not unless you redefine the meaning of the word ‘direct.’ No, they observed millimetre-wave photons (at about 150 GHz) at the surface of the earth, with a South Pole based telescope.

This is the state of modern cosmology. Because you cannot interact with the universe, you can only observe what it produces, and you have to run statistical arguments based on what you observe.

Is the discovery the ‘smoking gun’ of the big bang? This implies that it is something similar to just after a crime was committed and you found the guy holding the smoking gun. Well, even if that were so, you could still have the wrong guy, because you were not there to ‘directly’ see the crime happen. It is circumstantial at best. In this case it would have to be shown that the evidence could not come from any other possible source or mechanism. This is the problem with cosmology in general.

Not only is the claim that inflation has been detected, but also that they have discovered the effects of gravitational waves associated with the initial big bang. They claim they see the ensemble effect of primordial gravitational waves on the CMB photons. This is based on their modelling of what power should be expected in certain CMB fluctuations imprinted by gravitational waves from the big bang.

Gravitational waves, a prediction of Einstein’s General Relativity theory, so far have not been detected with the very large earth-based interferometric detectors like LIGO. This current claim is that they have detected the signal of these inflationary gravitational waves in the B-mode power spectrum around l ~ 80 (l is a measure of the multipole expansion term used to quantify the power in the CMB radiation on different angular scales across the sky).

The paper4 associated with this release states,

The power spectrum results are perfectly consistent with lensed-ΛCDM with one striking exception: the detection of a large excess in the BB spectrum in exactly the l range where an inflationary gravitational wave signal is expected to peak. This excess represents a 5.2 σ excursion from the base lensed-ΛCDM model. We have conducted a wide selection of jack-knife tests which indicate that the B-mode signal is common on the sky in all data subsets. These tests offer very strong empirical evidence against a systematic origin for the signal.

It is stated that various methods were used to exclude foreground contamination from the galaxy. In the data they have heavily filtered to extract the result they have modelled what a primordial gravitational lensed signature should look like. In addition they see an excess effect on the polarization of the CMB photons, over a particular angular scale expected from the theory.

One universe

We only observe one universe. Due to this fact there arises the problem of ‘cosmic variance,’ because we do not know what a typical universe should look like. So even if they were able to separate the foreground contamination by modelling the expected signal from dust in the galaxy how could you know if your model was correct? You can’t test it on another universe. They claim to have subtracted “…the best available estimate for foreground dust …” after which a null detection is disfavoured at 5.9 σ. This relies heavily on what the modelling says a typical universe without a gravitational wave spectrum should look like.

What you do is divide up the data set into various blocks from different regions of the sky and use that to generate a set of ‘different’ data sets. This is called ‘jack-knife’ which is used to give you some sort of estimate of your standard error in the measurements. Of course, it is all from the same universe and really this only gives a measure of the variation across the sky. Next you model what a typical universe should look like and generate mock universes, then compare your observed data to that from the mock universes. You can generate many mock universes and use them to create a statistic.

But this belies the problem of ‘cosmic variance.’ It all depends on the biases you have in your model. They use the dark energy (Λ), cold dark matter (CDM) cosmology to construct their mock universes and compare the observed data to that universe. It heavily depends on the biases built into the model. Those biases also determine what data you accept or reject in the analysis. Besides, there still does not exist any laboratory evidence for dark energy nor dark matter. After that it is just modelling.

‘But it must be correct because the big bang happened, we all know that!’

This is the problem:5

Researchers have measured the temperature variations in the CMB so precisely that the biggest uncertainty now stems from the fact that we see the microwave sky for only one Hubble volume [i.e. only one possible observable universe—JGH], an uncertainty called cosmic variance. ‘We’ve done the measurement,’ [Charles] Bennett says. (emphasis added)
That barrier to knowledge, some argue, is cosmology’s Achilles’ heel. ‘Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science,’ says James Gunn of Princeton University, co-founder of the Sloan survey [currently the biggest large-scale survey of millions of galaxies—JGH]. ‘A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology.’ (emphasis added)
‘The goal of physics is to understand the basic dynamics of the universe,’ [Michael] Turner says. ‘Cosmology is a little different. The goal is to reconstruct the history of the universe.’ Cosmology is more akin to evolutionary biology or geology, he says, in which researchers must simply accept some facts as given. (emphasis added)

Many universes

These results are also suggested to tell us something about all the other universes out there, because if the inflation of this universe is correct then our universe must be only one of many bubble universes that have bubbled into existence and we just happened to have evolved in this one and now we are able to discover this. This is the multiverse, which solves the problem of why we are here. It is just random chance that we live in this particular universe—the ‘Goldilocks’ universe—not too hot, not too cold, but just right—for life to exist.

This now shows the philosophical nature of cosmology. Only by first assuming the big bang cosmogony to be true, followed by cosmic evolution, does a discussion of a multiverse have any relevance.

So much hinges on the ‘unknowns.’ And the ‘unknowns’ result from applying the particular cosmological model—now known as the ‘standard’ model—to the observational data. The fact that these fudge factors are needed does not seem to disturb the atheist world because this is what they expect from the universe. To me it would engender a lot more confidence in the science if the picture of the universe they obtained made sense.

‘It made itself.’ We must accept that as a given, and then we can discover how that happened.

Concluding remarks

The universe began as God said in Genesis chapter 1, with no big bang. He created it out of nothing, by His supernatural omnipotence. God said: “Let there be light.” He filled the universe with light and that light might be what we observe today in the CMB radiation. My own cosmology—a derivative of Moshe Carmeli’s own big bang cosmology, but with biblical initial conditions—has a period of super-rapid accelerating expansion in the 4th Day of Creation, not quite the same as inflation, yet sufficient to adiabatically cool the initial light from a temperature of about 9,000K to nearly 3K today.

I proposed that the initial light was due to plasma glowing blue, which filled the initial much smaller universe. That initial plasma would have had sound waves resonating through it. And gravitational waves are entirely possible real physics, though they have yet to be shown to exist. Even the case of the Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar-neutron star pair, the discovery for which they were given the Nobel Prize in 1993 (where energy is lost as the binary pair spiral in towards each other), shows only that gravitational energy is lost, not that that gravitational energy is dissipated in waves.

My point is that even if this detection of an anisotropy in the excess B-mode polarization of the CMB photon field at the claimed angular scales is confirmed it may not be evidence of anything more than an effect resulting from some other source in the universe. You would have to rule out all other causes before you could definitely say it was a detection of the big bang. But to do that you would have to know everything and that would make you a god.

Making a prediction from some esoteric quantum theory6 in regard to the putative inflationary epoch, and then claiming a fulfilment of this in these observations is not the same as a clean prediction in testable, repeatable physics. In the case of the latter, there are ways to interact with the experiment and repeatably test one’s hypothesis. In the case of the former, i.e. when the laboratory is the cosmos, we cannot do that. The best we can do is run simulations on what we think the universe should look like and try to quantify the likelihood of the outcome of an observation. Astrophysicist Richard Lieu wrote,

Hence the promise of using the Universe as a laboratory from which new incorruptible physical laws may be established without the support of laboratory experiments is preposterous7 …


Far from being a definitive proof of either inflation or the big bang, this so-called ‘smoking gun’ is very ‘model-dependent’, which means it depends on unprovable assumptions—including that there was a big bang to begin with. Whereas even the idea that the CMB is the leftover echo of this alleged event has some serious and unresolved problems; for example, if the radiation really is coming from deep space, why is there no ‘shadow’ in it from objects supposedly in its foreground?.

Consider for a moment something else, something consistent with all the observations, including these latest reports; namely, that the universe did not begin in a big bang, because the universe never started in a singularity. It began in time, yes, … but, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflation_(cosmology)—retrieved 18 March 2014. Return to text.
  2. Clavin, Whitney, “NASA Technology Views Birth of the Universe”NASA—retrieved 17 March 2014. Return to text.
  3. Overbye, Dennis, “Detection of Waves in Space Buttresses Landmark Theory of Big Bang”, New York Times—retrieved 17 March 2014. Return to text.
  4. http://bicepkeck.org/b2_respap_arxiv_v1.pdf—retrieved 18 March 2014. Return to text.
  5. Cho, A., “A singular conundrum: How odd is our universe?” Science 317:1848–1850, 28 Sept 2007. Return to text.
  6. This implies a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) or some quantum gravity theory of the early universe, not the successful theory we use in the lab in particle physics. Return to text.
  7. Lieu, R., “LCDM cosmology: how much suppression of credible evidence, and does the model really lead its competitors, using all evidence?” 17 May 2007; preprint available at http://arxiv.org/pdf/0705.2462v1; see also ‘Cosmology is not even astrophysics’. Return to text.

Readers’ comments

D. D.
I only recently have looked at the creationist websites (Lyle and company). It then seemed likely to me as a layman on these subjects to speculate that the cosmic background radiation was somehow the red-shifted initial light from Genesis 1:3 stretched as the universe expanded. Then to read a previous connected thought from a qualified scientist was just great. I have made indium phosphide based laser chips with a quarter wavelength phase shift grating to maintain a single laser peak not a double. I have to admire the scientists who can work out the mathematics and the physics of building these amazing chips with quantum wells and all, that operate to 10GHz. So I don't know about creation and evolution from a science point of view, I just have to accept what I am told by people with much more ability than myself. Therefore I am very grateful to all the scientists who are prepared to go against the flow of secular thought and let the truth set us free.
John W.
A Jewish scientist gets it all confused because of a theistic evolutionary bias and now thinks that this discovery makes the creation of the universe, as recorded in Genesis, is now a "scientific fact!" Read the article: http://www.timesofisrael.com/with-new-big-bang-evidence-creation-is-a-fact/
John Hartnett
Yes, because of his held worldview that science in the cosmos can be used to determine truth. It can't unfortunately where one a priori rejects the account in Genesis 1. Really, cosmology is at best historical science but I prefer to call it what it is, not science at all, but philosophy. That scientist needs to get a new pair of glasses--biblical ones.
Brian L.
As shown in at least a couple 'must read' articles that Dr. Sarfati wrote (search for keywords "pizza feel full"), it has been fallacious to reason: "Since there exists an observed effect (150 GHz photons hitting the detector of a South Pole telescope) which would be expected if inflation theory is true, then inflation theory is true." This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent. Consistent observations of an alleged theory are not enough/sufficient to show that theory to be true.
(1) To further demonstrate this fallacy, have any other concurrent mechanisms/causes (known from observational science) been proposed that if also are true would be expected to concurrently yield such an observation of ~150 GHz photons so that the hypothetical causes of this observation are aliased (i.e., epistemologically opaque)? (2) Moreover, are there any other observed photons in other (non-150 GHz) frequency bands of the spectrum which are not what would be expected to be observed if inflation was true (at least not without adding a set of auxiliary hypothesis) that would thus falsify inflation? (3) Even as another added bonus, are there any such observed non-150 GHz photons that falsify inflation, but do not simultaneously falsify any of the other aliased causes known from observational science mentioned in my 1st question?
John Hartnett
Brian, Well said. It is also about the angular scale size of the fluctuations seen in those photons, that is important (in the range 30 < l < 150). Outside of that angular scale size they have no interest. Your points reiterate several points I already made. One I would further highlight, is, how are the data selected that are used in the analysis? Commonly they are chosen based on a knowledge of what is acceptable to the model. A good example, though not directly related to these observations, is with the high redshift supernova observations used to 'prove' that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. They chose the candidate supernovae based on their absolute brightness as determined from the standard model that they are testing. It becomes then circular reasoning.
kerry P.
If God chose to use a method which could be described as a "Big Bang" to create the universe, the accuracy of aligning all the necessary elements should prove to scientists that this could not be purely coincidental. The stories of the making of a far smaller bang - the first atomic bomb - and the accuracy required in shaping the explosives required to split the atom were almost at the end of scientific capability in reality, though far from it in theory. Remember that all of nature attests to the existence of God, if we look, and no amount of reasoning will convince a fool of the existence of God. I applaud CMI's sincerity in presenting Creation rather than bowing to the almost mandatory acceptance of the theory of evolution but I worry that so much emphasis is based on Genesis and Creation rather than on John 3;16 &17 which are the heart and soul of the Gospel. Our good intentions can be turned against the spreading of the Gospel by the enemy if we allow our focus to shift too far from the basis of our faith. May God bless your work as you do it according to His will . . . not mine or any other man's.
John Hartnett
Kerry, I think you are missing a very important aspect of understanding these type of announcements in the science. The science itself is dependent on many assumptions for them to make a claim that such and such is evidence for the big bang. So if the scientist held a different worldview to the atheistic anti-biblical one he would interpret the evidence differently. Evidence itself does not tell you what is truth. It must be put into a belief systems to be interpreted. With a biblical worldview you see that all nature testifies to God's existence but someone else (the fool you mention) cannot see that. Therefore we support the details of Genesis creation because they impinge on the details of John 3:16,17. In the same book, Jesus said "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" John 3:12.

You my not think it is important to speak about evolution, and maybe most people are not interested in evolution but all people are affected by evolution in how it shapes their worldview. Watch this!
Randy S.
If they “prove” inflation, it could only help struggling creationist models – which, by the way, all contain hyper-light requirements. But one more thing it will do – it should eliminate forever the prospect of “proving” a big bang in the first place because we will never see beyond or before that dusty inflationary horizon.
John Hartnett
It is impossible to "prove" or prove (whichever version you like, in scare quotes or not) anything in cosmology, because cosmology is not a science. I quoted a world leading cosmologist in the article above:

That barrier to knowledge, some argue, is cosmology’s Achilles’ heel. ‘Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science,’ says James Gunn of Princeton University, co-founder of the Sloan survey.

Cosmology is speculation based on philosophical worldview, not science; today’s popular cosmology is built on an antibiblical, atheistic worldview. It can never be more than that; so if you are waiting for a "proof" of the "big bang" you will be waiting a long time. Watch this!
Gary C.
In Fred Heeren's book "Show me God", published in 1995, he talks about background radiation, and more specifically the RIPPLES discovered by the COBE satellite in 1992. Even has pictures of the sky maps with the ripples. Whatever we think of the book- the "great discovery" announced this last week was documented over 20 YEARS AGO!
I don't get it- why the great "news flash" at this time, when this is actually OLD NEWS ?
John Hartnett
You are quite correct that the 'ripples' or variations in the CMB radiation away from the smooth 2.725 K temperature were observed with the COBE satellite, then followed by the WMAP satellite and most recently the PLANCK satellite. But they are discussing new observations, at a certain scale size in these ripples. These are actually from the CMB photons, from which they have extracted some new information. The new information is that the photons have an asymmetry, i.e. some are polarized in a special way that theory says can only come from the presence of primordial gravitational waves generated at the epoch of inflation. Get it?
Elliott K.

If I am to understand correctly the big bang actually created space and deposited the necessary elements for the rest to form over time, correct?

My question is this: if the BB created space then what existed before that, space expanded into what? They mean to say there was nothing until space filled the nothing?
John Hartnett
Your question is a good one that has no answer at the moment. That is the subject of current research into quantum gravity and higher dimensional M-theory. They conjecture that multidimensional membranes in an even higher dimensional space collided and caused it to 'bang.' More on this and the First Cause problem see here under sub-heading "The first cause".
Ferdinand III S.
This is another example of non-science from Hawking`s Atheist cult. Summary;

-A team in Antarctica 'claims' to have found signals of what they term, “B-mode polarization” in the cosmic microwave background.

-Given their worldview of Atheism-Evolution this 'team' states that these signals provide evidence of gravitational waves; which was caused by the big bang.

-This 'team' has ruled out any other cause for the 'B-mode signals'. This is called 'science'.

Some obvious problems with this non-science:

-The data is exceptionally weak, it has not been tested or reviewed by 'sceptics' or [other] 'experts'; has not been replicated [yet].

-Gravitational waves are known to be rather weak and open to many interpretations which this 'team' won't even consider. A number of different theories can account for the weak B-mode signals, none of which are entertained by this 'team'.

-Cause and effect: what propelled the 'inflation'? How did it occur and why would it occur ? No answers [so far to this question].

Therefore the Big Bang and its inflation are to my mind just miracles [but without a Miracle Maker], a set of theories which deeply offends the Atheist-non scientific establishment.

[John Hartnett's editorial insertions in [ ] brackets]
John Hartnett
Ferdinand, I have edited your statements a little to try to be fair to those scientists who are genuine in their sincerity about their belief system. They are experts in their field and truly believe what they have produced is correct. It does not make it correct though.

I do not agree with you that their theories offend the atheist-non-scientific establishment though. I believe most atheists of that kind support this work. The one group of atheist who do not are those who reject the big bang because it has an origin, a beginning for the universe. That is too close to Genesis chapter 1 in the Bible.

The latter group believe in an eternal universe, with no beginning and no end. Watch this, where I present a discussion on these two different camps of atheist cosmologists.
John S.
"at a rate much faster than the speed of light". How can some old-earthers be 'all in' on this unobserved hypothesis of something that is not uniform with current observations, yet will not allow any hypothesis that light from distant galaxies might be the result of some similar non-uniform process (ie speed of light not constant)? It seems completely hypocritical, unless I am wrongly comparing the two.
John Hartnett
Expansion faster than the speed of light for space itself (as opposed to travelling through space) is quite valid and not a violation of special relativity. Yet your point is still valid. It might be better made by saying that if such incredible theories are developed like inflation to overcome a light-travel time problem (the horizon problem) in the universe then why should not biblical creationists also make similar proposals. It is hypocritical to object to such as do many 'old-earth' creationists. See here, here and several of the resources shown on this page for some potential solutions in creationist cosmologies.
James W.
I love that secular scientists claim to have found the "smoking gun". Really all they've "found" is what they think is "smoke", which they interpret as coming from a theoretical "gun", that they claim went off around 14 billion years ago, and further, that they believe no one pulled the trigger of! I must say, I am less than persuaded by their "evidence".

Thank you Creation.com for your ministry. It's much needed in this time when so many are being deceived by secular shenanigans and trickery.
Todd B.
So just like in many evolutionary "discoveries", the researchers found what they wanted to find based on a "belief" in the Big Bang and its affects?
John Hartnett
Yes, quite true. Though all evolutionary studies that try to reconstruct the past are essentailly driven by a fervent belief in the required philosophy, i.e. evolution, in cosmology it seems to be harder for people to see this. Maybe because there has not been as much discusssion amongst creationists along that line. See here and also here.
Bob S.
What would be some of the problems associated with matter travelling at the incredible speeds necessary to cover a distance of 92 billion light years in a fraction of a second? I thought the density of matter increased as you approached the speed of light?
John Hartnett
The idea does not violate special relativity because the matter, really just energy at this stage of the alledged big bang, is not travelling through space, but the space itself is expanding and the mass/energy content is 'going along for the ride' so to speak. This is the same way that cosmological expansion of the universe is treated, with expansion rates much much smaller than suggested in the inflationary epoch. So yes, according to the theory it is ok to expand like that.
Jack M.
Dear John,

You use the analogy of the 'smoking gun' and point out quite rightly that even if we observe someone holding the smoking gun after the crime it is still not a direct observation of the crime.

Would you agree that the same logical rigour should be applied to consideration of the account of Creation in the Bible? We can certainly observe the modern-day Bible, but there are a large number of steps between that and the events of Creation which we cannot observe.

Thus we would be wise to regard the Biblical account of Creation with the same scepticism that we do the 'science' of the Big Bang.

Best regards,

Jack Machin.
John Hartnett
Jack, We should treat all historical science, meaning circumstantial evidence of unseen past events, with the same scepticism. I agree that we should treat biblical creationist models with that same scepticism. That is healthy to advance our ideas and understanding of what happened in the past. The only difference I may hold with your views is that I believe God has preserved His Words intact. Psalms 12:6-7 They are exactly as He wished to convey them to us, and where they speak of history we can trust them. He is the only faithful and true witness of the past Creation events. When we are speaking of these events it is really not science but history and the Bible is the only history book that tells us how God created the universe. See here.
Judie S.
Does this idea of inflation, (which I infer from '10 to the minus 20+' is supposed to happen in a tiny fraction of a second) mean that people have no excuse to doubt God's ability to create the universe in less than a day?
John Hartnett
It is true that the idea of inflation means a very rapid volumetric expansion by a factor of 10^78 in only about 10^-36 seconds some miniscule moment after the alleged big bang universe started to expand. It however does not translate into creation of the whole universe in that period of time, nor within a short period after that. For example planet earth did not form until about 10 billion years after the big bang, allegedly.

The only thing we can take from this in reference to God's creation of the universe, is that if the big bang model has a rapid period of inflation, there should be no objection to a creationist cosmological model that also has a very rapid early expansion stage, whether you call it inflation or not.
Murk P.
In the first "millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second" the universe went from an atomic scale to bigger than "will ever be observable" or > 92 billion light years

(source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/14/140317-big-bang-gravitational-waves-inflation-science-space/)

Mmmmmmm sounds to me like the same as " and God said let there be light" except without God

And yet again the constants they stand on to "know" this or anything rest on a suspension of these very constants

Fairy dust anyone ?
John Hartnett
Yes, I agree. There are many free parameters and a lot of "unknowns" of which the inflaton field or particle is but one. It is even more absurd than you state, because "before" the big bang some suggest colliding higher-dimensional membranes. See here. They need a first cause (not God) and M-theory in some much higher dimensional space will do. Sounds like your fairies in the bottom of the garden.
Peter N.
You write: "It began in time, yes, … but, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”". But did the universe begin in (as in pre-existing) time; or, was time created, and hence time began, when God created the universe?
The answer is the latter; even materialist big bangers affirm that time, space and matter appear together. "It began in time" = began at a point in time, which point was the beginning of time.

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