Every and every one of us has, at least once in our lives questioned the Origin of the Universe. We have been conditioned to believe that science, more specifically physics explains the origin. The Creation of the universe through the infamous Big Bang Theory. But does physics have all the answers or does philosophy weigh in more, at certain turns? Does Philosophy or Physics explain the origin of the universe?
How Physics Explains the Origin of the Universe
The science of Creation has been a topic of controversy for a long time. Physicists often tend to solve or attempt to solve issues based on assumptions.
1. The Big Bang Theory
In the 1920s the Big Bang theory was proposed as a possible scientific explanation for the creation of the universe. The Big Bang hypothesis states that all of the current and past matter in the Universe came into existence at the same time, roughly 13.8 billion years ago. At this time, all matter was compacted into a very small ball with infinite density and intense heat called a Singularity. Suddenly, the Singularity began expanding, and the universe as we know it began.
2. Role of Cosmology
This branch of astronomy laid the foundation for physicists to formulate the Big Bang Theory. Cosmology helps us envision the structure of the universe.
To solve the problem of the origin of the world, the fundamental approach assumes the following. That the structure of the Universe is an evolution of what the Universe was at the very beginning. That further evolution of the Universe did not preclude the significance of its initial states for what we observe now on a large scale.
3. Assumptions or Superlaws
The problem was that the initial conditions of the Universe did not abide by the laws of nature. Scientists concluded that the origin was an exception, a coherent possibility. Thus, superlaws or exceptions that ruled the initial condition had to be formulated. Or we could see the Universe as one without boundaries, an unlimited one. In A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking conceptualized this idea.
4. “Nothing” before the Big Bang
Stephen Hawking’s talked about how the initial state of the world was timeless. This relativist theory interpreted the rise of matter, time and space out of “nothing” through a singularity and how the question on the beginning of the Universe led to the question of the beginning of time itself.
“There was nothing around before the Big, Big Bang.”Hawking said to Neil deGrasse Tyson at the “Star Talk” show on National Geographic Channel.
5. Physics doesn’t approve of “Nothing”
Now, this is where metaphysics and philosophy come into play. According to physics, can “Nothing” at all exist? A dilemma here. Proved theories, one such by Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek says that “Nothing is Unstable.”
How Philosophy Explains the Origin of the Universe
Philosophers always put forward a strong notion. That science cannot fit without solid metaphysical foundations.
1. What is Metaphysics?
Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that examines the fundamental nature of reality including the relationship between mind and matter, between substance and attribute, and between potentiality and actuality.
2. Philosopher’s Approach to Creation from “Nothing”
A well-known fundamental metaphysical question is: “Why is there rather something than nothing?” which led great philosophers of various times (Aristotle, Leibniz, Heidegger) to grapple with the basic philosophical problems. It assumes the sensibleness of the concept of “nothingness”.
Philosophers suggest that nothing is impossible to exist and that space is never empty. Space always has energy and is always becomes permeated by lines of force representing fields. And thus, the conception of the creation of the Universe out of physical reality, “vacuum” arises.
Other subjects that explain the origin of the universe
Religion, since its beginning has taken credit for the origin of the universe. Thus, the term Creationism. Most religions refer to the creation of the world as a divine act of the supernatural.
Dan Brown in his book, Angels & Demons refers to how Physics explaining what happened after the Big Bang and thereafter. But the event at t=0 is an area of blank space which religion seems to explain.
“Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though, we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for the power that created us.”Dan Brown, Angels & Demons
2. The God-Particle
Finding the Higgs Boson in 2012 validated much of how scientists believed the universe was formed. The media called the Higgs Boson, the God particle because, according to the theory laid out by Scottish physicist Peter Higgs and others in 1964, it’s the physical proof of an invisible, universe-wide field that gave mass to all matter right after the Big Bang, forcing particles to coalesce into stars, planets, and everything else.
How Philosophy And Physics aren’t Mutually Exclusive subjects on the Origin of the Universe
Physics cannot explain the Origin of the Universe without the concept of nothing. And this itself is a question of philosophy. Philosophy cannot explain the Origin without postulates from physics.
Thus, the connection between science and philosophy has endured for thousands of years. It has not only been preserved but is also growing substantially stronger. The connection between them is so mutual that it is characterised by their ever-deepening interaction. Thus, both physics and philosophy are essential to explain the origin of the universe.