The Big Bang: Just A Myth?

A lecture by Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy

Every culture and religion has its own version of creation. But here is the evidence that science offers.


  1. Very nicely, efficiently and clearly presented. But…

    When it comes to the ideas of the ancients, our own intellectuals seems to be unread in the Indian thought. For example Pervez Sahib seems to know exactly what the Greek story of creation is but when it comes to Indian story, he mentions Mahabharata and Ramayana which shows he has not read his classics but is well versed in western classics. The story of creation in our Indian classics is given in the Vedas and Upanishads well before the epics of Mahabharat and Ramayan…
    I respect Dr Hoodbhoy and the point is not to criticize him but taking the opportunity to raise an important issue and that is the issue of classics. The west is well aware of their classics which is the Greek thought and Roman thought and is taught in every university although we know they were wrong about a lot of things. But our intellectuals have never asked even the question “what could possibly be our classics?” We are aware of Aristotle as the philosopher, but we hardly know Panini, as the founding father of linguistics. The result is a bunch of people, not connected to the soil and hence looking for their sacred places elsewhere…

  2. A simple and clear exposition; the sort which makes Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy a great public educationist. However, just on two points, I venture to take issue with his presentation:

    1- Firstly, with reference to 2:35 ff., the analogy of a bomb explosion is not an appropriate one to explain the Big Bang, which was NOT a bomb type explosion on TWO accounts:

    (a)- Any bomb’s explosion or grenade’s explosion results in the heterogeneous distribution of material in different directions. Hence, after a bomb explosion, there might be more shrapnel thrown towards left than towards right. An extra piece of iron might be projected upwards or an extra piece of brick might be tossed downwards. This is true for all sorts of explosions. The universe, on the other hand, looks the same in every direction on large scale. If the Big Bang were similar to an ordinary bomb or grenade explosion, any observer would see two entirely different concentrations of matter (on large scale) when he would observe two different directions of the universe.

    (b)- A bomb explosion results from a chemical reaction inside the bomb which results in creation of a lot of heat and high pressure inside a tiny region (that is the erstwhile bomb. It is the gradient / difference between the high pressure inside the just triggered bomb and the low pressure in the outside space which actually causes the explosion. On the other hand, there was no space OUTSIDE the big bang. The big bang defines the simultaneous expansion of ALL of the space into itself, all at once, from a state of very high density & temperature to one of lower density & temperature.

    2- Secondly, it was interesting listening to the views held by ancient Greeks, Hindus or Christians branded as being unscientific by our Narrator. Living in a world today in which extremism and intolerance have disproportionately been claimed as their own by followers of the religion of Islam, one expected, in vain, Dr. Hoodbhoy to say a word or two about Islamic views on creation of the world and characterize them as similarly unscientific. This was all the more necessary given the fake sense of superiority which most Muslims find themselves suffering from due to self-righteousness and narrow-mindedness.

    It may be of some interest to note that some Muslim pseudo-scientists point to the Qur’anic verse 21:30 as referring to Big Bang. That verse may be translated as: “Have not those who have disbelieved considered that the heavens and the earth were a cohering mass, and We slit them apart, and of water have We made every living thing? Will they not then believe?” (Richard Bell’s translation).

    This verse describes anything but the Big Bang because the Big Bang happened 13.8 billion years ago (WMAP data, 2012; Planck data, 2013), whereas the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago. In other words, the earth did not exist when the Big Bang happened. The constituents of the earth (water, an oxygen, silicon-rich Crust, magnesium, iron-rich Mantle and an iron-rich Core) were NOT created at the time of Big Bang, but formed much later inside the cores of Stars which became supernovae. From a scientific point of view, the Earth was formed some 9 billion years AFTER the Big Bang through a process of accretion of debris and Steller leftover material. Thus the question of separation of earth and heavens which were supposedly joined together, does not arise.

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