"It's the Best Explanation We Have." "Is It Really?" "But I Believe!"

Time: Ten thousand years ago. Gods are the best explanation for everything. In the day they give light so people can see what they do, and in the night gods give darkness people can rest. The gods give people what they need and punish people who don't obey their rules.

Time: Thousands of years later. New best explanations have replaced previous best explanations. People tell stories and then write their stories. One of these stories tells how everything came to be. It's known as Genesis and tells of the lights in the sky. Other people elsewhere have different best explanations.

Time: Early 1900s CE. Astronomers' best explanation for the night sky is that everything they see is part of the Milky Way galaxy.

In the 1920s a man named Edwin Hubble measures the distances to some of what he sees in the night sky. Some of what he sees is too far away to be part of the Milky Way. This both shocks and excites astronomers and they want new best explanations. A Catholic priest gives them one. It's much like the Genesis story.

2016 CE. Some of us insist that a Genesis-like story is still the best explanation.

Is it really?

When we here at Think Atheist stop believing and start thinking, we will want more than hypotheses; we will want evidence.

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Blame my spare time library browsing for the idea that best explanations change.

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Try to imagine the entire universe in a volume the size of an atom.

Does that kick start some thinking?

Even if there is humongous empty space between each atom's particles, imagine the entire universe in a space* the size of an atom.

Go ahead, give it a try.

Rather like the Genesis story, isn't it?

Many astronomers objected but America ninety years ago was far more Xian** than it is now. Challenging the idea would require these astronomers to challenge Genesis and they wanted to do science, not politics. HOT politics.

* Decades passed before the Bangers came up with the idea that space didn't exist then. Ditto for time. Where is their evidence?
** Xian fundamentalists, objecting to Darwin, had persuaded the legislatures in many states to make teaching evolution illegal.

If that doesn't kick start your thinking, save a beer for me.

HI Tom,

I have aphantasia, visual only. It means I have no 'minds eye'. I cannot visualize an elephant, for example. I know it's big, grey, has a trunk etc, but that's categorized as a paragraph in my head, rather than a picture.

Oddly, as a result I can actually imagine (no picture, just concept) a universe in an atom - it's as simple as imagining a beach for me. No picture, just a collective paragraph.

Have a beer on me, mate :)

Wow, I never heard of aphantasia!

So here's a BBC article about it. On their short "test" (http://www.bbc.com/news/health-34039054), I scored 25 out of 40, meaning I'm less visual that most people, but not unusually so. (I think they should call that a survey instead of a test or quiz, because it's only a few questions that require personal judgment, with no reference to compare one's own experience to.) Still, I'm not surprised by their score.

I could never draw anything well. Can you?

I can draw a pint of beer from the taps.

So those puns are catching on I see, he said.

I scored 38 out of 40, but  my cousin Eddie was one hell of a guy.

I won't try to draw a picture.

The only thing I can draw is a breath, and I have to undraw it before I can draw another.

I scored 6 because I do have a vague shadowy impression of my mum. Apparently I'm in the bottom 5%. About the same as my 'good conduct' rating when I was a 15 year old schoolchild. Probably hasn't changed much...

Somehow I just can't imagine you as a huge troublemaker as a schoolchild.  I picture as a sweet, demure...

Oh, never mind, I'm laughing too hard to finish typing that sentence.

I wasn't just a troublemaker. I was The Troublemaker.

Done, Strega, and I drank it warm.

Warm, just like my regards for you. How fitting :)

It seems as though all the scientific evidence points that way, though.  Many scientists were reluctant to accept the Big Bang for reasons similar to what you've given.

What's the alternative?  What's the alternative that also explains the same data?


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