Life before earth in context Life before earth in context

Gravitational waves – what they mean

Two days ago, John Kovacs, of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, claimed a momentous discovery. He said he had seen “direct evidence of cosmic inflation,” according to Mike Wall at Space.com. The New York Times picked up the story almost at once. So did Nature, to whom Kovacs has already submitted several papers. (See their announcement here.) Specifically, Kovacs says he and his team saw gravitational waves left over from the first moments of time after the Big Bang.

One excited observer, Avi Loeb, also of Harvard, said “if…confirmed, it [is] the most important discovery” since universal acceleration. That’s a big “if,” warns the author of Creation-Evolution Headlines. But today, Nathan Aviezer of Bar-Ilian University told David Shamah of The Times of Israel those gravitational waves prove one thing above all:

the universe had a definite starting point — a creation — as described in the Book of [Beginnings]. To deny this now is to deny scientific fact.

Can Dr. Aviezer say that with justice? Do gravitational waves establish a specific creation event, or only the idea of creation? Do they show anything at all?

Gravitational waves – what Dr. Kovacs saw

The CEH piece best describes what Kovacs and his team saw and reported:

a team with a sensitive detector dubbed BICEP2 in Antarctica found (they claim) some signals of B-mode polarization in the cosmic microwave background (CMB)

BICEP stands for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization. BICEP 2 is the second-generation instrument used in the study. (BICEP 3 is under construction.)

Are those gravitational waves? CEH warns these are mere “swirls on a chart.” That they truly are gravitational waves is only an inference from an assumption of what gravitational waves would do. Worse, interpreting these “swirls” as gravitational waves might violate causality and break the theory Kovacs and his team are trying to confirm:

This signal…would have had to be imprinted on spacetime almost half a billion years before the CMB became visible.

The Cosmic Microwave Background is the ambient “light” of the universe. It is remarkably uniform throughout space. So whatever made it, happened everywhere in space at once.

Gravitational waves – what they would mean

Life before earth in context
Life before earth in context of the Big Bang. Graphic: Sharov and Gordon, Life before earth

Philosophical naturalists and uniformitarians are quick to cite gravitational waves as evidence for their own concept: if the universe began, it began without Divine help. But can they say that? CEH reminds us: finding gravitational waves says nothing about what made them. It does not say what caused the Big Bang, or what came before it.

Moreover, it was a one-time event, with no explanation, that occurred under no known laws of nature – ruling out the principle of uniformity, the basis of science.  Conclusion: inflation is tantamount to a miracle.  Q.E.D.  So: everyone believes in miracles.

So Dr. Aviezer at Bar Ilian certainly can claim this much: the universe began. Grasping that statement alone demands an answer to the questions of why and how.

The creation model

Genesis (literally, “In-the-beginning” in Hebrew) says God made light on Day One, and made the sun, the moon, and the stars on Day 4. The Bible also describes, not a Big Bang, but a Big Stretch. That can account both for the gravitational waves and for universal acceleration.

The creation model, like the uniformitarian/naturalist model, does not answer the question of how and why the universe came to be, or what existed before it. Creation science has no problem with this. God is the First Cause. He made the universe for His own reasons.

But the naturalists and uniformitarians have a problem. Their world view is incomplete without a trigger for the Big Bang, and an antecedent “universe.” Without that, most have given up looking for it. They set aside causality for the beginning of the universe. That’s why their model will always be weak.

Reprinted from examiner.com

[subscribe2]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Editor-in-chief at | + posts

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

astronomy, bible, creation, evidence, scientific theory


Terry A. Hurlbut

Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

Comments (6)

  • “Kovacs says he and his team saw gravitational waves left over from the first moments of time after the Big Bang.”

    This is not what they’re claiming. This is not a direct detection of gravitational waves left over from the big bang (such gravitational waves are by now far too weak to measure directly). Rather, it is a measurement of a certain pattern of polarization in the cosmic microwave background produced around 380,000 years after the big bang.

    “the universe had a definite starting point — a creation — as described in the Book of [Beginnings].”

    Whether the universe had a definite beginning is almost completely unrelated to this announcement. This discovery is not even a test of the big bang theory, which is already supported by many other observations. The point of this result is that scientists have verified one of the predictions of the theory of cosmic inflation. I don’t know how anyone could interpret this as proof that the universe had a definite beginning…

    “That they truly are gravitational waves is only an inference from an assumption of what gravitational waves would do.”

    Again, this is not a direct detection of gravitational waves. No one is claiming that the swirls themselves are gravitational waves; they correspond to polarized light observed through a telescope. And no, the claim that this pattern of polarization was produced by gravitational waves is not some unfounded “assumption”. It is a prediction of the theory of cosmic inflation and of general relativity, one of the most superbly well tested theories in all of science.

    “interpreting these ‘swirls’ as gravitational waves might violate causality and break the theory Kovacs and his team are trying to confirm”

    This is a truly idiotic misunderstanding of the science. We’re talking about gravitational waves produced in the very early universe that have been propagating through space ever since and which left an imprint on the cosmic microwave background 380,000 years after the big bang. There is absolutely no violation of causality.

    “finding gravitational waves says nothing about what made them.”

    The B-mode polarization observed by BICEP2 is thought to be the result of gravitational waves produced by quantum effects in the very early universe.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.



© All Rights Reserved. Conservative News and Views.

Back to Top