In a world dominated by magical thinking, superstition and misinformation, give yourself the benefit of doubt. This is one skeptic's view of the Universe.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
The way I understand it, which is humbly, matter and mass did not exist in that ‘pre-universe’ state. What you had was infinite potential energy to form matter, which formed some 300,000 years afterward, as the universe cooled. Also, the whole idea of a point in space for this density to occupy loses it’s meaning when there isn’t even any space. It was nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
It’s important to realize that our common conceptions of time, spatial dimensions, matter and the forces that would pertain to squishing all the matter into a tiny space; they’re all useless for understanding the singularity at the front of the Big Bang as they did not exist yet. The theory itself is about how the universe expands, not so much about how it was compacted before it expanded. Mainly because, so far, our empirical reach has only taken us back to within a fraction of a second after the expansion had already begun. The singularity really represents a point, in rewinding the expansion of the universe, where the maths break down.
Cosmology 101: Big Bang - http://youtu.be/xsQ1XmqEe6M
What Is The Evidence For The Big Bang? - http://youtu.be/xtrYF_hxxUM
This series will explain the key concepts and processes in the theory as well as the observational evidence and current areas of research in the theory- http://m.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6150D61BB71657A6
I don’t think there is a way of measuring time beyond, or prior to, the Big Bang as time is part of space and neither existed. As far as we’ll ever know or as far as it will ever apply to us, measurable time began at the moment of expansion (the Big Bang).
As a fraction of the lifespan of the universe as measured from the beginning to the evaporation of the last black hole, life as we know it is only possible for 1/10^30 of a percent. And that’s why, for me, the most astonishing wonder of the universe isn’t a star or a planet or a galaxy. It isn’t a thing at all. It’s an instant in time. And that time is now. Humans have walked the earth for just the shortest fraction of that briefest of moments in deep time. But in our 200,000 years on this planet we’ve made remarkable progress. It was only 2,500 years ago that we believed that the sun was a god and measured its orbit with stone towers built on the top of a hill. Today the language of curiosity is not sun gods, but science. And we have observatories that are almost infinitely more sophisticated than those towers, that can gaze out deep into the universe. And perhaps even more remarkably through theoretical physics and mathematics we can calculate what the universe will look like in the distant future. And we can even make concrete predictions about its end. And I believe that it’s only by continuing our exploration of the cosmos and the laws of nature that govern it that we can truly understand ourselves and our place in this universe of wonders.
Brian Cox, Wonders of the Universe
Nature is evidence for God like rainbows are evidence for Leprechauns’ gold. Like the rainbow, nature is perceived as having a beggining and an end. But we know that there is no end to a rainbow; that the arc is just an illusion of perspective, and where we can’t see we fill in the gaps with pots of gold and spirits and, in the big picture, gods.
This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.