Manny's Reviews > The First Three Minutes: A Modern View Of The Origin Of The Universe

The First Three Minutes by Steven Weinberg
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Apr 06, 12

bookshelves: science, transcendent-experiences, well-i-think-its-funny, if-research-were-romance
Recommended for: People interested in Big Questions
Read from April 04 to 06, 2012

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth...”

“Can we leave out God and just say that, in the beginning, the Universe got created?”

“NO!”

“Oh well, leave it in for now. Let's continue.”

The rest of this review is in my book If Research Were Romance and Other Implausible Conjectures
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Reading Progress

04/05/2012 page 12
5.0% "I remember that during the time I was a student and then began my own research (on other problems) in the 1950s, the study of the early universe was widely regarded as not the sort of thing to which a respectable scientist would devote his time." 25 comments
04/05/2012 page 27
12.0% "Kant is the first person to figure out what the Milky Way really is. Messier compiles his table of star clusters and nebulae to help comet-hunters, who want to avoid making irritating false identifications."
04/05/2012 page 51
23.0% "You can work out whether the universe will carry on expanding or eventually contract using only classical methods, i.e. no General Relativity. It's high school stuff. I didn't know that!"
04/05/2012 page 61
27.0% "They've actually discovered the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, but the first suspect is a pair of pigeons that have nested in the antenna. The pigeons occupy their attention for several weeks."
04/05/2012 page 100
45.0% "In 1976, there were apparently still cosmologists wondering if the universe didn't contain regions of anti-matter. But Weinberg doesn't believe it."
04/06/2012 page 150
67.0% "The vexed question of why people didn't find the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation earlier. There was some theoretical work predicting it, and sensitive enough instruments maybe existed even in the late 40s. But no one looked until it was discovered by accident in 1965."
04/06/2012 page 160
71.0% "... one of the most obvious and yet surprising facts about the universe - that there is so much stuff in it."

Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

The creationist wouldn't know poetry if William Blake slapped him in the face with it. 'Quantum foam' is a fine phrase.


message 2: by Brandon (new)

Brandon This is quite reminiscent of my college days (I was surprised at the number of scientist I interacted with in my Religions classes). I congratulate the both of them for being able to maintain a dialogue. Usually it ends with the one or the other turning to a poor soul who is not quite as sharp and attacking him/her then proclaiming, “A HA!”


message 3: by Clif (new)

Clif Hostetler In my opinion, "...without form and void...” is surprisingly close to "quantum foam" in meaning. After all, we live and act in a Newtonian world. (It's best to be mindful of Newtonian physics--not quantum mechanics--the next time you drive through a highway curve at high speed.) Therefore, using words that relate to our four human senses is acceptably prudent.


Manny I think the wording of Genesis 1:1-3 is brilliant. Admittedly, the bit which possibly refers to inflation is obscure. But perhaps the theory of inflation isn't correct. Penrose, for one, is pretty scathing about it.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

is this a review of the book? Is this all the book is about?


Manny Eva wrote: "is this a review of the book? Is this all the book is about?"

The book is a classic physics/cosmology text explaining the Big Bang theory and focusing on what scientists believe happened during the first three minutes of the Universe's existence, and what reasoning led them to these beliefs. It's a very interesting story.

I do not know whether Professor Weinberg would appreciate me pointing out the surprising similarities between the modern scientific account and the one you read in the first three verses of Genesis, though I am sure he had this discussion many times. Also, in the interests of historical accuracy, I should say that the theory of 'inflation' I mention here was actually proposed a few years later by Guth. I include it because it's now become standard and also fits reasonably well with the Biblical version.


message 7: by QA (new) - added it

 QA Manny ,i think the creation of universe has been touched upon in all the so-said divinely revealed Books ,i know about Quran and Hindu religious Books atleast besides Bible ,and you may also study this topic there,weather you appreciate them or not.It would add more colour to your already so-beautiful reviews.You are really a prolific reader,i think un-matched so far as i know.


Manny Thank you q a! I looked up the Quran's version of the creation of the Universe, and as far as I can tell it's similar to that in the Old Testament, but with some important differences - in particular, that the heavens are created last, not first. Is that right?

And I must read about the Hindu version... I know nothing at all about that!


message 9: by QA (new) - added it

 QA I am not sure about this difference but i ll check and will let you know soon.


Manny Thank you, I would be very interested!


message 11: by Eric_W (new)

Eric_W Manny wrote: "Thank you, I would be very interested!"

Some claim there are two differing views of creation in Genesis itself: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/con...

The traditional (and quite lengthy) response is:
http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcon...

I like your story better.


Manny Thank you Eric, that was very interesting! I wasn't aware that people were still trying to square this particular circle.

It's striking that reconciling Genesis with the Big Bang is in some ways easier than reconciling it with itself...


message 13: by Carlo (last edited Apr 07, 2012 11:57PM) (new) - added it

Carlo Manny wrote: "It's striking that reconciling Genesis with the Big Bang is in some ways easier than reconciling it with itself..."

Hats off to you, Sir!


Manny Thank you Monsoon!


message 15: by QA (last edited Apr 08, 2012 10:39AM) (new) - added it

 QA Do you find this interesting sir:
The Creation Hymn
Rigveda,X,129
In the begining there was nothing non-existent,nor existent;there was no realm of air,nor sky above.
What covering was there,and where?what shelter? was there water,unfathomable water?
Death was not there,nor anything immortal; no signs to divide day and night.
That one breathed but without air, breathing by its own power.There was nothing whatsoever apart from it.
There was darkness; and concealed in darkness all was just chaotic waters.
All that there was just empty and formless.By the power of warmth there was born that one.
Thereafter, then, rose desire--Desire, the first seed of mind.
Sages, who searched with their hearts's thought, discovered the root of the existent in the non-existent.
They laid a line to separate(the parts of the universe): what was about it,them and what below it.
They were begetters, there were mighty forces, free action here,and energy up yonder.
Who in truth know and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation.
The gods are later than this world's creation.Who, then, knows whence it first came in to being?
Whether this creation was made by itself or not,He who first orignated in the creation.
Whose eyes control this world from the highest space in heaven-He knows of it, or, perhaps, He knows not.
(Griffiths translation- Rigved 1500 Bc)


Manny q a wrote: "Do you find this interesting sir:
The Creation Hymn
Rigveda,X,129"


Thank you q a, that is very fine! I had not seen it before.


message 17: by Ian (new)

Ian Paganus These arguments always arise when someone scientific asks what is matter for, and someone religious responds with a metaphor.


Manny I just discovered that, in the Vulgate, "The Earth was without form and void" is Terra autem erat inanis et vacua. No doubt a coincidence, but a pleasing one!


message 19: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller Now how did I manage to miss this when you posted it?

Brilliant! You got the first day or 2 to work. Now for the rest... ;)


message 20: by Traveller (last edited Apr 24, 2012 03:20AM) (new) - added it

Traveller q a wrote: "Do you find this interesting sir:
The Creation Hymn
Rigveda,X,129
In the begining there was nothing non-existent,nor existent;there was no realm of air,nor sky above.
What covering was there,and wh..."


Wow, that is wonderful.. so poetic and metaphysical. No wonder I've always felt drawn to Hinduism, since a lot of the Vedas tend to read like this.


message 21: by Manny (last edited Apr 24, 2012 03:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Manny Traveller wrote: "Now how did I manage to miss this when you posted it?

Brilliant! You got the first day or 2 to work. Now for the rest... ;)"


Thank you! I'm quitting while I'm ahead...


message 22: by Traveller (new) - added it

Traveller Manny wrote: Thank you! I'm quitting while I'm ahead...
"


Come to think of it, you could make this quest for reconciliation your theme for your Pilgrim's Progress 'review'.


message 23: by Dan's (new)

Dan's Obsessions Amazing Manny I can't help but like yr dialogue there
( SO much better than those silly posts on YT) Atheist Vs Theist type of cartoon dialogues
Witty, funny & straight to the point


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