# Part of the Big Bang perplexes me

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Dear science forum

I have a problem with the Big Bang because of a mathematical discrepancy that makes no sense to me.

As far as I can figure out, evidence proving the Big Bang is coming from electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light, ultraviolet light, infrared light, gamma rays, x-rays, etcetera) which I understand is travelling at the speed of light, approximately 300,000 km per second.

Yet, we are standing on earth which is apparently hurling through space 300-400 km/s -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-fast-is-the-earth-mov/ - which is less than 1% the speed of light.

My problem is that I do not understand how we can be intercepting data that is moving at the speed of light while standing on evidence that is moving less than 1% of that speed and conclude the high velocity evidence proves the existence of the low velocity evidence upon which we are standing.

This is a simple model to illustrate my confusion:

BB - - - - > LV - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV

BB - the Big Bang

LV - low velocity evidence, i.e., matter

HV - high velocity evidence, i.e., electromagnetic radiation

According to the present conclusion, planet earth is made from the matter (low velocity evidence) that was expelled from the Big Bang. Yet, as far as I can figure out, we are intercepting high velocity evidence that should be travelling away from the low velocity evidence, including the earth if the earth was made from the ejected material.

If our planet was formed from the physical debris ejected out from the Big Bang and it is travelling at a fraction of the speed of light, then we should not be able to intercept any high velocity evidence of the Big Bang that is travelling at light speed.

It seems to me, this is a basic rule governing all explosions. For instance, when a star explodes and we intercept the high velocity evidence (i.e., light waves, gamma waves etcetera), we do not argue that we are made of the atoms being ejected from that event. We may argue we are made of the atoms created inside similar events, but not that particular event.

From my grade six calculations, we should be situated in front of the high velocity evidence like this:

BB - - - - > LV - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV - O (earth)

and not like this:

BB - - - - > LV - O - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV

where O represents planet earth

So, am I missing something? Is there some force that is causing the high velocity evidence to circle back and hit earth? Is the high velocity evidence bouncing off the edge of the universe and then crossing paths with the earth?

Or did somebody forget a small calculation when they concluded the entire universe started with a single Big Bang? Because, if somebody missed a calculation, then we are living in a very interesting universe because we still have evidence of a Big Bang, though we may not be able to conclude the entire universe began with a single Big Bang.

However, we could still surmise this planet has its origins in a Big Bang, just not necessarily the event we are witnessing. And that means we have a very interesting universe indeed.

Thank you, gwb

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5 minutes ago, gwb said:

Yet, we are standing on earth which is apparently hurling through space 300-400 km/s -

This may be the source of part of your confusion. We may be  "hurtling through space" at 300-400km/sec relative to something, though I'm not sure what (and even less concerned as to what it might be). We are orbiting the sun at around 30km/s, relative to the sun. We are following the sun around the galaxy at about 220 km/s, relative to the centre of the galaxy. We are moving with the rest of the galaxy towards Andromeda at 110km/s, relative to Andromeda. All velocities are relative.

17 minutes ago, gwb said:

So, am I missing something?

I'll leave it to those better qualified address the heart of your misunderstanding. It's so wrong I'm not sure where I could begin.

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28 minutes ago, gwb said:

Yet, we are standing on earth which is apparently hurling through space 300-400 km/s -

How can you define this speed? What reference do you use?

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22 minutes ago, gwb said:

Dear science forum

I have a problem with the Big Bang because of a mathematical discrepancy that makes no sense to me.

As far as I can figure out, evidence proving the Big Bang is coming from electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light, ultraviolet light, infrared light, gamma rays, x-rays, etcetera) which I understand is travelling at the speed of light, approximately 300,000 km per second.

Yet, we are standing on earth which is apparently hurling through space 300-400 km/s -

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-fast-is-the-earth-mov/ - which is less than 1% the speed of light.

My problem is that I do not understand how we can be intercepting data that is moving at the speed of light while standing on evidence that is moving less than 1% of that speed and conclude the high velocity evidence proves the existence of the low velocity evidence upon which we are standing.

This is a simple model to illustrate my confusion:

BB - - - - > LV - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV

BB - the Big Bang

LV - low velocity evidence, i.e., matter

HV - high velocity evidence, i.e., electromagnetic radiation

According to the present conclusion, planet earth is made from the matter (low velocity evidence) that was expelled from the Big Bang. Yet, as far as I can figure out, we are intercepting high velocity evidence that should be travelling away from the low velocity evidence, including the earth if the earth was made from the ejected material.

If our planet was formed from the physical debris ejected out from the Big Bang and it is travelling at a fraction of the speed of light, then we should not be able to intercept any high velocity evidence of the Big Bang that is travelling at light speed.

It seems to me, this is a basic rule governing all explosions. For instance, when a star explodes and we intercept the high velocity evidence (i.e., light waves, gamma waves etcetera), we do not argue that we are made of the atoms being ejected from that event. We may argue we are made of the atoms created inside similar events, but not that particular event.

From my grade six calculations, we should be situated in front of the high velocity evidence like this:

BB - - - - > LV - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV - O (earth)

and not like this:

BB - - - - > LV - O - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV

where O represents planet earth

So, am I missing something? Is there some force that is causing the high velocity evidence to circle back and hit earth? Is the high velocity evidence bouncing off the edge of the universe and then crossing paths with the earth?

Or did somebody forget a small calculation when they concluded the entire universe started with a single Big Bang? Because, if somebody missed a calculation, then we are living in a very interesting universe because we still have evidence of a Big Bang, though we may not be able to conclude the entire universe began with a single Big Bang.

However, we could still surmise this planet has its origins in a Big Bang, just not necessarily the event we are witnessing. And that means we have a very interesting universe indeed.

Thank you, gwb

I think your  error is in your conception of the mechanism of the BB as an explosion from a point, out into a pre-existing space.  Wherever you are in the universe, evidence from the BB is moving towards you. The BB, and expansion itself, is happening everywhere where gravitational attraction is weaker than the force of expansion.

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37 minutes ago, gwb said:

This is a simple model to illustrate my confusion:

BB - - - - > LV - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > - - - - > HV

You confusion seems to come from thinking that all light and matter exploded from some central point and filled the universe. That is not what the Big Bang model describes.

Instead, the universe has always been completely full of matter. As the universe expanded there was more room and so the matter got less dense and cooled down. Eventually to the point where it could form stars. We know see the light rom stars all around us, all formed in the last 13 billion years.

So we see two main types of evidence for the Big Bang:

1. We see an increasing red-shift of light from galaxies further away. This is consistent with the geometric expansion of the universe which makes apparent recession speed proportional to distance.

2. We see the cosmic microwave background (CMB) all around us with a temperature of 2.7K. This comes from the time when the universe cooled enough to become transparent and so all the light that had been bouncing around in a dense cloud of gas was suddenly free to travel across the universe (this was about 380,000 years after the Big Bang). There is no other theory that can explain the CMB.

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3 hours ago, gwb said:

It seems to me, this is a basic rule governing all explosions. For instance, when a star explodes and we intercept the high velocity evidence (i.e., light waves, gamma waves etcetera), we do not argue that we are made of the atoms being ejected from that event. We may argue we are made of the atoms created inside similar events, but not that particular event.

e some force that is causing the high velocity evidence to circle back and hit earth? Is the high velocity evidence bouncing off the edge of the universe and then crossing paths with the earth?

The BB was not an explosion per se...rather it was an evolution/expansion of space and time, henceforth known as spacetime as we know them. Matter evolved later....It wasn't until 3 minutes after the BB that the first protons and neutrons combined to form basic atomic nuclei and another 380,000 years later before electrons were able to couple to those atomic nuclei to form out first elements of H and He. Being an evolution of spacetime itself, there was no center to this event, rather it happened everywhere at the same time, because everywhere was confined to within the volume of an atomic nucleus.

The radiation we see and which we call the CMBR [Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.] pervades all of spacetime at a temperature of 2.7K and is the left over or relic heat from the BB itself. That though is only one element of evidence that supports the BB. The other of course is the observed expansion that we see.

The BB model of the evolution of the universe/spacetime, is the most overwhelmingly supported model that we have. One other point...Scientific models such as the BB are not proven...nothing really is in science. Scientific models are simply the best explanation we have at this time, and are always open for modification, addition, or just plain old scrapping for any new improved model. By the same token, models such as the BB do grow in certainty over time and as they continue to match observational data and making valid predictions.

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21 hours ago, Strange said:

.........the universe has always been completely full of matter.

Wow, that really made me sit up and take notice: i've never looked at it that way before. So would it be right to say, then, that the suggested singularity was the whole universe and that it "just " expanded, rather than it came into existence from nothing?  I'd have to ask two questions now: why did it expand at the moment it did at the velocity it did ( as gwb in the OP  has mentioned ), and is it at all possible that that singularity could have been inconceivably large even before it expanded- if that's not a contradiction in terms?

+1. I wasn't able to upvote your post.

Edited by Tub
upvote failed
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9 minutes ago, Tub said:

So would it be right to say, then, that the suggested singularity was the whole universe and that it "just " expanded, rather than it came into existence from nothing?

YES!

Although it is doubtful a singularity represents physical reality.

11 minutes ago, Tub said:

why did it expand at the moment it did at the velocity it did

No one knows. Quantum fluctuation? Big bounce? Colliding multiverse? Other?

12 minutes ago, Tub said:

is it at all possible that that singularity could have been inconceivably large even before it expanded

I think that if the universe is infinite then the initial hot dense state (not singularity) must have been infinite too.

I hope the OP found it (and the other answers) useful too

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6 minutes ago, Strange said:

........ it is doubtful a singularity represents physical reality.

No one knows.......  ( why the Universe expanded when it did at the velocity it did )......  Quantum fluctuation? Big bounce? Colliding multiverse? Other?

I think that if the universe is infinite then the initial hot dense state (not singularity) must have been infinite too.

I hope the OP found it (and the other answers) useful too

Thanks, Strange. I certainly found it very helpful.

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On ‎16‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 12:53 PM, StringJunky said:

I think your  error is in your conception of the mechanism of the BB as an explosion from a point, out into a pre-existing space.  Wherever you are in the universe, evidence from the BB is moving towards you.

My understanding is that it all originates from the same event, the expansion. In other words, all space, matter and energy, very suddenly, very rapidly began moving outward from this singular event. My thing is that I do not understand how the matter can be moving outward at a slower speed while electromagnetic energy can be moving faster. If this is the case, then the faster moving energy should be beyond the slower moving material.

On ‎16‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 12:38 PM, Area54 said:

This may be the source of part of your confusion. We may be  "hurtling through space" at 300-400km/sec relative to something, though I'm not sure what (and even less concerned as to what it might be). We are orbiting the sun at around 30km/s, relative to the sun. We are following the sun around the galaxy at about 220 km/s, relative to the centre of the galaxy. We are moving with the rest of the galaxy towards Andromeda at 110km/s, relative to Andromeda. All velocities are relative.

Okay, all velocities are relative, yet whether the earth is moving 3000km/s or 30,000km/s, our speed is still slower than the speed of light and all evidence of the Big Bang is moving considerably faster. And if we originate from the same source, at the same time, i.e. the same event, it does not compute.

On ‎16‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 1:02 PM, Strange said:

You confusion seems to come from thinking that all light and matter exploded from some central point and filled the universe. That is not what the Big Bang model describes.

Instead, the universe has always been completely full of matter. As the universe expanded there was more room and so the matter got less dense and cooled down. Eventually to the point where it could form stars. We know see the light rom stars all around us, all formed in the last 13 billion years.

So we see two main types of evidence for the Big Bang:

1. We see an increasing red-shift of light from galaxies further away. This is consistent with the geometric expansion of the universe which makes apparent recession speed proportional to distance.

2. We see the cosmic microwave background (CMB) all around us with a temperature of 2.7K. This comes from the time when the universe cooled enough to become transparent and so all the light that had been bouncing around in a dense cloud of gas was suddenly free to travel across the universe (this was about 380,000 years after the Big Bang). There is no other theory that can explain the CMB.

my confusion seems to grow

all light, matter and space where compressed in what can only be a smaller sphere, a smaller universe that began expanding till stars and galaxies could develop. and these galaxies are moving away from one another. the space between them is expanding  or increasing, which explains the red shift of light. yet, that light still comes from the galaxies and stars themselves, and physicists and astronomers use the Hubble law to calculate distances back in time, several billion years.

however, the microwave radiation is still moving at light speed and earth is moving slower. so, if both have their origins in the same event, how can we be intercepting the microwave radiation that should be way beyond our reach. that does not make sense to me.

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19 minutes ago, gwb said:

My thing is that I do not understand how the matter can be moving outward at a slower speed while electromagnetic energy can be moving faster. If this is the case, then the faster moving energy should be beyond the slower moving material.

OK. So the light we see now is not from the same place where the matter around us came from. As you say, that light is long gone. However, we now see the light that is reaching us from further away. Take the CMB for example, the radiation we are receiving now is coming from about 40 billion light years away.

To understand why we are still receiving light from the Big Bang after all this time, maybe the "surface of last screaming" analogy will help: https://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/March03/Lineweaver/Lineweaver7_2.html

(If you need to relate that more closely to your question, imagine all the people slowly walking away from you. It doesn't really make any difference.)

Edited by Strange
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28 minutes ago, gwb said:

My understanding is that it all originates from the same event, the expansion. In other words, all space, matter and energy, very suddenly, very rapidly began moving outward from this singular event. My thing is that I do not understand how the matter can be moving outward at a slower speed while electromagnetic energy can be moving faster. If this is the case, then the faster moving energy should be beyond the slower moving material.

Okay, all velocities are relative, yet whether the earth is moving 3000km/s or 30,000km/s, our speed is still slower than the speed of light and all evidence of the Big Bang is moving considerably faster. And if we originate from the same source, at the same time, i.e. the same event, it does not compute.

Picture yourself inside the expanding universe, not outside of it. The emergence of all things during the BB is happening everywhere around you. The light that is billions of light years away from you is heading towards you and the light  that originates from your position is heading to someone billions of light years away. It''s important to realise that the BB did not have a position; it's the whole universe at all times during its expansion. Picture a 4x4 grid of dots, then picture the distance between each adjacent dot increasing... that's expansion.  Also, picture each dot as a light source and you will see that light is coming at each dot from the other dots.  It takes time, billions of years even, to receive signals from other parts of the universe to us and from us to everywhere else.

Edited by StringJunky
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@OP: Its like these spokes, as you move forward in time from the origin the distance between spokes grows.

Light has an increasing amount of distance between Superclusters to cross as time goes on.

Edited by Endy0816
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Also, remember that new light is being emitted all the time. Most of the light we see was not created in the Big Bang but in the last few (several) thousand years - from stars.

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The next problem is that a single event cannot happen everywhere at the same time. Unless this same event happened in an area infinitely small (so that information about the Bang could spread in time= null). Which draw us back to the point-singularity. Even Allan Guth gets caught at it.

Edited by michel123456
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14 minutes ago, michel123456 said:

The next problem is that a single event cannot happen everywhere at the same time.

This is the "horizon problem" - the isotropy of the CMB suggests that the early universe was at the same temperature everywhere. This is only possible if it was all connected causally (at the speed of light). The early universe appears to have been too large for this to be the case.

Inflation was suggested as a possible explanation of this: a rapid period of expansion that allowed the early universe to reach the equilibrium state it was in. However, there isn't really any good evidence for inflation, apart from that. And there are other possible explanations. (The "big bounce" for example.)

I suspect a theory of quantum gravity will give us a better idea of the early universe and perhaps make the horizon problem go away. For example, one attempt to apply QM to the early universe suggests that the universe is infinitely old, which should solve the problem.

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Only part of the big bang perplexes you?   Good for you, ALL of it perplexes me.

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On ‎3‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 10:04 AM, Strange said:

YES!

Although it is doubtful a singularity represents physical reality.

No one knows. Quantum fluctuation? Big bounce? Colliding multiverse? Other?

I think that if the universe is infinite then the initial hot dense state (not singularity) must have been infinite too.

I hope the OP found it (and the other answers) useful too

OK , now I am confused as well . Everything I have ever read ( as a layman ) has made the point that everything in the universe is moving away from everything else due to expansion from a single point, so that nothing is moving towards anything else, excepting local gravity effects like our solar system  . One physicist even makes the point that at some time in our future humans will know about other stars only through historical records, because all of them will have receded beyond the point at which light can reach us, coupled with the expansion of the universe at a faster rate that light can cross the expanse ( barring technology that will overcome this problem ).  I have read theories debating whether the universe will continue to expand into a lifeless collection of cold dead stuff in the way off end of the universe as we know it, or whether there is enough mass to reverse the expansion and pull the universe back into a single point in what is termed the Big Crunch. While the expansion of everything away from everything else may not imply a single singularity at one point in the universe, the Big Crunch idea seems to, unless I am missing something ( which is certainly possible).

Edited by wallflash
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51 minutes ago, wallflash said:

OK , now I am confused as well . Everything I have ever read ( as a layman ) has made the point that everything in the universe is moving away from everything else due to expansion from a single point, so that nothing is moving towards anything else, excepting local gravity effects like our solar system  . One physicist even makes the point that at some time in our future humans will know about other stars only through historical records, because all of them will have receded beyond the point at which light can reach us, coupled with the expansion of the universe at a faster rate that light can cross the expanse ( barring technology that will overcome this problem ).  I have read theories debating whether the universe will continue to expand into a lifeless collection of cold dead stuff in the way off end of the universe as we know it, or whether there is enough mass to reverse the expansion and pull the universe back into a single point in what is termed the Big Crunch. While the expansion of everything away from everything else may not imply a single singularity at one point in the universe, the Big Crunch idea seems to, unless I am missing something ( which is certainly possible).

The Universe right now is expanding evenly and symmetrically. It does not (as far as we know) have a centre. So it's not like everything is distancing itself from a single point like an orange exploding. Big Crunch does not describe pulling everything back in a single point like an opposite of the Big Bang.

As I understand, the Big Bang describes the expansion of the Universe from a very dense and high temperature state whereas the Big Crunch describes the expansion reversing and matter collapsing into black holes.
But Big Crunch is not really supported by much observational evidence.

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1 hour ago, wallflash said:

OK , now I am confused as well . Everything I have ever read ( as a layman ) has made the point that everything in the universe is moving away from everything else due to expansion from a single point, so that nothing is moving towards anything else, excepting local gravity effects like our solar system  . One physicist even makes the point that at some time in our future humans will know about other stars only through historical records, because all of them will have receded beyond the point at which light can reach us, coupled with the expansion of the universe at a faster rate that light can cross the expanse ( barring technology that will overcome this problem ).  I have read theories debating whether the universe will continue to expand into a lifeless collection of cold dead stuff in the way off end of the universe as we know it, or whether there is enough mass to reverse the expansion and pull the universe back into a single point in what is termed the Big Crunch. While the expansion of everything away from everything else may not imply a single singularity at one point in the universe, the Big Crunch idea seems to, unless I am missing something ( which is certainly possible).

The huge universe we have right now, with lots of matter and energy in it, is not a consequence of increased energy, because energy is conserved. The fact that there is energy in the first place, and that it is expanding, means that once it must all have been located at 1 single point in space.

This 1 point of energy could not increase or duplicate. This means that it was only able to divide into parts (I’m referring to all the particles in space). You could interpret the distribution of energy in space in an abstract way, in terms of numbers/values. The "stuff" in the universe basically represents this energy value of 1, but is divided into more and more parts. So that would generate particle values such as 0,0000000000000000000005 or something like that, probably even smaller, but my point is that all these particles together would still make up the initial energy value of 1. And gravity should have the value of 1 as well (-1 to be precise, because we live in a flat zero-energy universe in which all the matter is cancelled out by gravitational attraction).

All energy together make up the value 1, and all gravity makes up the value of -1, which makes 0, and therefore a flat universe. Observations support the zero-energy universe idea, that matter (positive) is cancelled out by gravitational attraction (negative). There is a constant in the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric that determines whether the universe is curved and infinite, curved and finite, or flat. The energy densities for those three curvature cases are positive, negative, and zero.

Edited by MarkE
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11 minutes ago, MarkE said:

The huge universe we have right now, with lots of matter and energy in it, is not a consequence of increased energy, because energy is conserved. The fact that there is energy in the first place, and that it is expanding, means that once it must all have been located at 1 single point in space.

This 1 point of energy could not increase or duplicate.

The bolded is what I have always understood. But this point seems to be disputed now, unless I am misunderstanding some of the responses here. ( again, certainly a possibility )

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10 minutes ago, MarkE said:

The huge universe we have right now, with lots of matter and energy in it, is not a consequence of increased energy, because energy is conserved. The fact that there is energy in the first place, and that it is expanding, means that once it must all have been located at 1 single point in space.

This 1 point of energy could not increase or duplicate. This means that it was only able to divide into parts (I’m referring to all the particles in space). You could interpret the distribution of energy in space in an abstract way, in terms of numbers/values. The "stuff" in the universe basically represents this energy value of 1, but is divided into more and more parts. So that would generate particle values such as 0,0000000000000000000005 or something like that, probably even smaller, but my point is that all these particles together would still make up the initial energy value of 1. And gravity should have the value of 1 as well (-1 to be precise, because we live in a flat zero-energy universe in which all the matter is cancelled out by gravitational attraction).

All energy together make up the value 1, and all gravity makes up the value of -1, which makes 0, and therefore a flat universe. Observations support the zero-energy universe idea, that matter (positive) is cancelled out by gravitational attraction (negative). There is a constant in the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric that determines whether the universe is curved and infinite, curved and finite, or flat. The energy densities for those three curvature cases are positive, negative, and zero.

Hmm..not sure I agree and I have pretty limited knowledge on the subject but I will try to argue with some points.

Mass can be converted to energy and the other way around so what is conserved is mass-energy.

14 minutes ago, MarkE said:

and that it is expanding, means that once it must all have been located at 1 single point in space.

What if there was nothing else? And that point was everything. And everything is expanding.

16 minutes ago, MarkE said:

The fact that there is energy in the first place, and that it is expanding

Energy is not expanding.

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5 minutes ago, wallflash said:

The bolded is what I have always understood. But this point seems to be disputed now, unless I am misunderstanding some of the responses here. ( again, certainly a possibility )

Whatever stage the universe's evolution and its size, everything was everywhere.

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23 minutes ago, MarkE said:

because we live in a flat zero-energy universe in which all the matter is cancelled out by gravitational attraction

Can you provide a paper on this or a serious source?

The Zero-Energy universe is BS as far as I know.

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12 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Whatever stage the universe's evolution and its size, everything was everywhere.

True, but this "everywhere" would be in one infinitesimally small and dense  point if it began from one singularity.

Edited by wallflash

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