In which I discuss a very complicated topic that I know next to nothing about, in such a way that attempts to convince you that I do. This week's topic: Astronomy - in particular the birth of the universe and the possibility of other universes and dimensions. If any of these points are wrong, please don't hesitate to shut the hell up and just let me have a minute in the sun, ok?
The term "Big Bang" is a bit misleading because there actually was no bang, such as we define the term. The universe did not explode open like a detonated stick of TNT, but rather became so compressed and dense it had no option other than to begin expanding again. Imagine all matter in the universe condensed into one central point, and it keeps condensing, keeps condensing, until there is absolutely no more space for it to get crunched into. Now imagine the amount of energy held inside one atom. It's alot. That's why nuclear bombs go boom so big. Because there's a lot of energy in a single atom. Now imagine how many atoms there are in the universe, totally, and imagine them pushed up against each so hard that one of them - and all it takes it for one to go - is about to split open. The early universe, as we now know it, began expanding quite rapidly as all of the energy in that tight bundle became so crunched it had to release itself. The universe started expanding and is still expanding today.
You may ask yourself, "If the universe was contracting before it was expanding, what does that mean? Where did all of that matter come from?" Well, where did God come from, if you believe in Him? You soon see that this question, and its answer, doesn't make any sense. All you can really say is, "It/He/She was always there." Which is really quite a foolish thing to say, because you really haven't answered any sort of question. I know this, because I am the most brilliant mind working in astrophysics today, and even I have yet to come up with an answer.
As the universe expanded, clumps of matter began forming together, as is matter's wont. Imagine you're on a basketball court and you have a bag of pennies. You throw the bag of pennies out in one direction and when they land, there will be areas where the pennies are more closely grouped together, and areas where there is more space between the pennies. Since all matter gravitates towards larger bodies of mass, clusters of pennies would, if we're now talking about space, as in outer space, the clusters would get closer together and form a galaxy. Or a solar system. I'm not really sure how that works.
Using this model, it would seem then that universes could potentially be formed in other spatial arenas where there is a grouping of matter circling around a central body of mass. What comes to mind is an atom. There is a whole body of physics devoted to this theory, and those in the know call it "string theory". Basically, this states that quarks, which are the building blocks of atoms (and I know what you're thinking - hey, I thought atoms were the building blocks of atoms!! - so don't even go there) are comprised of little strings that bounce up and down and have different vibrations. The different vibrations of the strings determine what "flavor" of quark the atom is comprised of. How this all fits in to extra dimensions and the possibility of different universes, I'm not really sure. But I do know that it raises the question that if life can arise here, on this planet, with these resources, couldn't it also, conceivably, form somewhere in the inner dimensions of an atom? And if it happened in one atom, couldn't it happen in other atoms?
Which naturally leads to an even more puzzling question, which is, "Where did all those atoms come from?" Some would say, "God". Well, where did God come from?
Take your time.
Go ahead, think about it.
Of course, that's a pretty Big Question. If you're confused and looking for the answer, I'd suggest waiting for my next Segment, in which I tackle where God came from. Until then, thanks for reading, and I hope you learned something.
To some people, this image actually makes sense.