Many if not all human societies have origin myths and they differ greatly.
Several years ago a San Francisco-born-and-raised woman told me she is a materialist.
An hour ago a woman who was raised a Jehovah Witness and has left that faith told me the Big Bang story grew from a human need for a beginning. I agreed.
Can you wholeheartedly accept that the universe had no beginning, that it has always existed?
No, the Universe we exist in had a beginning. What came before is unknown. The Big Bang could have been the end of something else rather than just the beginning and it may be in an eternal loop but that is for the theoretical cosmologists to ponder. We can confidently say that our Universe did “begin to exist” and Science has demonstrated this.
The universe had to have come from something, but we can only theorize from what. The concept of infinite time is easier for me to accept, and of course that's not provable or disprovable, so it's ultimately an exercise in philosophy and fantasy.
Eternity is also the default time frame chosen by religionists, who do "need" to believe they know how it happened, albeit with its own magical beginning caused by an eternal conscious entity.
PB, I find a Hubble Deep Field photo impressive.
It doesn't evidence change due to electromagnetic, gravitational or other forces, but I can imagine such a photo as depicting part of a past or future universe.
Religion is for folks with emotional needs I don't have.
The questions involve the KNOWN UNIVERSE mostly..but, the universe itself (unknown and known combined) had to have always existed.
I think of it like this:
1) Space has to exist, and be infinite, because even if you have nothing at all, there can't be a point/boundary where that ends...there would simply be moire space on the other side.
2) Time had to always exist, and be infinite, even if there was no way to measure it. No matter how far back you go, there would be the time before that. No matter how far into the future you go, there's always going to be the time after that.
3) We know, experimentally, that photons, electrons and positrons pop into existence when all we have is spacetime. So, a property of spacetime is matter and energy.
So, if we have an infinite amount of space, and time, and, therefore, spacetime...we also have the matter and energy it produces.
So, it would be impossible for spacetime, matter and energy to not exist.......and, there can be no point in time at which they did not. The given is therefore that they have always existed, as not existing is impossible.
All of that means I need the universe to NOT have had a beginning...or end.
The KNOWN universe of course is simply our infinitesimally small 46 billion light year or so across dot within the rest of the cosmos.
The way the matter and energy reacts with its surroundings is what our "Big Bang" theory addresses, and, actually provides experimentally proven confirmation of why we see what we do.
So the known universe had a beginning, and, will have an end, and, likely, continue to do so forever. (Bang/crunch/bang/crunch...)
We are essentially experiencing one beat of a 46+ billion light year wide heart...which started ~ 14 billion or so years ago.
With each bang/crunch, that's one more beat.
Aw, TJ, I know you are capable of scientific thinking. I see it in your posts on other topics
Here I see religious thinking, not supportable by evidence.
"We know, experimentally, that photons, electrons and positrons pop into existence...."?
Perhaps by definition, as mathematicians may do. But physicists?
We know that photons pop into existence, and we know that electron-positron pairs can pop into existence. These are observations of the physical world, not theoretical constructs nor axiomatic definitions.
TJ unfortunately has a classical 3000-year old view of "space". Our more modern and accurate view is that space and time did not always exist, are not "infinite" in the sense that he uses, and in fact stretch, resulting in cosmological red-shift and the expansion of the universe.
The human mind is presently incapable of conceiving simultaneously both the notion of eternity and the notion that it has boundaries in time or distance. In all likelihood, the human species will probably go extinct before it CAN understand this existential contradiction.
Dale, I agree; the human species may go extinct before it understands.
We are, and have long been, able to suspend judgment.
But when the government wants to throw taxpayers' money at people who studied physics?
You're right, browneyedgirl; there are theories.
The Standard Model has lots of theories; it lacks evidence.
At www.newtoeu.com you can download a free PDF you can read between bouts with your boys.