Open Universe?

Most cosmologists believe that the universe is open and non-oscillating. This means that the universe will eventually become cold and dark. According to these scientists, before the big bang the entire universe was condensed into a tiny speck. This speck does not have a beginning. It always existed. If so, why did this speck suddenly explode into a big bang? You might respond that, somehow, it is in the nature of this speck to eventually explode. My question is, then, if this speck always existed why did it not explode into the big bang infinitely earlier? In short, my question is if the universe is infinite how could something which can only happen once (the big bang) EVER happen?
Atheist Answer: 

Firstly, and I'm not assuming that you intend a creator god to be the preferable explanation (though of course many do), the same question can be applied to that god. If one always existed, he/she just sat there for an eternity before acting. Why?

Secondly, models of an open, non-oscillating universe generally imply that time as we know it did not exist before (or as one apologist put it, "ontologically prior to") the Big Bang. As one part of Einstein's theoretical combination "spacetime", it was wrapped up with everything else in the singularity (speck) and its apparent forward flow began when the expansion did. Going by this type of model, it wasn't possible for anything to happen "before" the Big Bang. Stephen Hawking likened the question to asking what's north of the North Pole.

Thirdly, it's possible that there are systems of time and space outside the universe we know, and our universe was set off by one of these. There are various models of a multiverse, collectively infinite in both time and matter, where universes regularly beget other universes. There are also slightly simpler models of a single external mother universe or "metaverse" which spawns the others. These are speculative, of course, but at least the extra entities being posited are objects we know exist in at least one case, i.e. universes.

Finally, new evidence is emerging which may challenge the singularity's perceived lack of a beginning. It may be best to wait and see.

- SmartLX

Best Evidence For and Against A Young Earth?

I was recently asked the following on a creationist blog I was invited to read. >>> Healyhatman if there had been a world-wide flood what evidence would you expect to see? What is your best-specific- piece of evidence against a young earth? <<< I made a huge list of the things I thought I would expect to see and added radio-isotope dating / stars more than 6k light years away as answers for the second part. But what are the big pieces of evidence one would expect for a global flood, and what is the single best piece of evidence against a young earth? Which piece of evidence "rules them all" ? Also, why aren't line breaks working?
Atheist Answer: 

Line breaks aren't working for you because the formatting in the answers isn't implemented for the question field (hint hint, powers that be).

As usual I'm going to be very general here because I am not a scientist, but I will try to include key points you can google later.

The number one method young-Earth creationists use to make a young earth plausible in light of geological and paleontological realities is to exploit the most catastrophic world-changing event in the Bible set chronologically between Creation and Armageddon: Noah's flood. This is the raison d'etre of so-called flood geology.

The flood, they claim, carved out the Grand Canyon, wiped out all of the animals we only see today as fossils, and laid down all the strata in quick succession as sediment.
To put it mildly, there are a multitude of potential problems with this.

One is the rigid position of all animals worldwide in the strata. In the chaos of a planet overwhelmed by rushing water, why are all specimens in a given extinct species (say, trilobites) found in the same layer instead of all over the place?

There's one clever explanation that simple animals were drowned first, followed by successively more advanced animals who could fly or were more agile. So the higher they are the longer they held on, and the more evolved they "appear". However you'd expect millions of exceptions to this, for example a small reptile holding onto a floating log. There are many claims of objects found out of sequence, like petrified trees penetrating many strata, but no proven anomalies yet.

Radiocarbon dating is the most straightforward method of disproving the young earth. Using basic laws of nuclear physics, it regularly establishes the age of objects as tens of thousands to millions of years old. Even one such object would prove the earth to be least that old, but this happens all the dang time.

Therefore, of course, there's a huge effort by creationists to discredit radiocarbon dating completely and utterly. There are large margins of error sometimes, but when you're only trying to make sure something is older than six millennia, an error of millions of years out of greater millions hardly matters.

What many don't know is that there are many different forms of dating, based in principle on the initial carbon method but using other particles. Some of these have indeed been found unreliable and are no longer in use (and are publicised by some creationists to represent the whole field as a failure) but this does not reflect upon the methods still used.

Similar to this geological argument between young-earth creationists and everybody else is the astronomical argument. There are objects greater than 6000 light years away, such that if the universe were that young, light from them wouldn't have reached us yet.

One creationist has developed a bigger cousin to flood geology, namely white hole cosmology. WHC assigns different time speeds to different areas, so that six thousand years here is billions of years at the edge of the universe. Besides WHC, there are other ideas involving light moving faster than the speed of light itself. Needless to say, these ideas as applied in this way are without support in mainstream science.

The first thing I'd throw at them in your situation, Healy, is those distant objects in space. White hole cosmology isn't nearly as well-rehearsed as flood geology, and the responses tend to sound really cool in a sci-fi B-movie sort of way. It might be fun. Either that, or they might concede an old universe and concentrate on a young Earth, which is not a very stable position.

- SmartLX

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