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AUSTRALIAN
MARXIST
REVIEW

Journal of the Communist Party of Australia

ISSUE 36DECEMBER 1996

The Big Bang and materialism

by Rafael Pla-Lopez

Dr Pla-Lopez is a BA in Physics and PhD in Mathematics, University of Valencia, Spain, and Coordinator of the Ideological Section of the Communist Party of Valencian Country which is part of the Communist Party of Spain. He is a member of the Federal Committee of the Communist Party of Spain.

Traditional creationism implies a beginning and an end of the world. But the theory of the Big Bang does not imply the existence of God. Moreover, to discuss the theory of the Big Bang in order to deny the existence of God is a dangerous game which seems to give scientific arguments to the defenders of God’s existence.

In fact, the existence of a beginning of the world is a scientific question, which can be scientifically argued. If it implied the existence of God, this existence could be scientifically proved. Furthermore, the theory of the Big Bang is in the mainstream of cosmological science ... which could imply a sad situation for philsophical materialism.

None-the-less, the existence of God is not a topic of cosmological science and it is not a usual matter of discussion between cosmologists. You must distinguish between scientists and ideologists who interpret these results. Present cosmologists are usually “spontaneous materialists” — like the majority of the scientists. Some of them, as outstanding as Stephen Hawking, are explicitly atheists.

In order to understand and philosophically interpret the theory of the Big Bang and the problem of the beginning of the world, one must study physics. One cannot understand the problem of the beginning of time without understanding the General Theory of Relativity about time.

Relativistic time isn’t the linear time of classical mechanics. On the contrary, relativistic time is contracted or expanded according to the velocity and mass. In short, the measure of time depends on the system of reference.

In the environment of a Black Hole, its huge mass strongly distorts space-time. A body which passed inside the so-named “event horizon” would live in a finite time while outside would pass an infinite time.

One could imagine it like a spring infinitely compressed in an end. Its straight length would be finite, but its self length would be infinite.

In the opposite direction, you can use this image to understand time in the Big Bang, with its immense concentration of mass. The so-named age of the universe is the time on the path of a particle which emerges from the Big Bang following its expansion. And this age is finite. Like outside a Black Hole, the corresponding time would be infinite for an external observer ... but this external observer cannot exist in our Universe, according to the theory of the Big Bang: the whole universe comes from the Big Bang.

In this framework, to introduce a God to give a “first impulse” to the world in the Big Bang hasn’t any meaning. A God hasn’t any place in relativistic cosmology. The defenders of its existence must place God out of the world ... and out of scientific theories. From a philosophical point of view nothing is changed. Theists cannot argue the theory of the Big Bang in their favour.

I want to underline that the general discussion about the Big Bang should be made in the field of scientific research, without philosophical prejudices and without mixing this scientific debate with the philosophical debate between materialism and idealism.

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