Fandango’s question this week was borrowed from Rory who some may remember from “A Guy Called Bloke”. It was one of a series of questions on his new blog “Earthly Comforts”.
When did time actually begin?
When I first read this question, I started to think about the age of the Earth, but that’s another question that can be answered in more than one way depending on your belief system. Earth is not the oldest thing in the universe so obviously time began before that.
The simple answer, for me anyway, is I don’t know.
However, we’re not going to get much of a post out of that are we?
When I googled the subject the first thing that came up was something from a site called Answers from Genesis. I have to admit that I didn’t even go and look. I used to know some Creationists and while they were very nice people, they could not convince me that God created the Earth in seven days. I have to look for a scientific answer.
The next one that comes up is The Big Bang Theory (not the TV show). The idea is that before the Big Bang there was no time because that event created time. I have no idea how we know this for a fact.
I also read of another theory known as The Big Bounce. I found the following unsourced quotation on Wikipedia. I am not going to even pretend that I understand it.
The concept of the Big Bounce envisions the Big Bang as the beginning of a period of expansion that followed a period of contraction. In this view, one could talk of a Big Crunch followed by a Big Bang, or more simply, a Big Bounce. This suggests that we could be living at any point in an infinite sequence of universes, or conversely the current universe could be the very first iteration. However, if the condition of the interval phase “between bounces”, considered the ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom’, is taken into full contingency such enumeration may be meaningless because that condition could represent a singularity in time at each instance, if such perpetual return was absolute and undifferentiated.
The main idea behind the quantum theory of a Big Bounce is that, as density approaches infinity, the behavior of the quantum foam changes. All the so-called fundamental physical constants, including the speed of light in a vacuum, need not remain constant during a Big Crunch, especially in the time interval smaller than that in which measurement may never be possible (one unit of Planck time, roughly 10−43 seconds) spanning or bracketing the point of inflection.Wikipedia
Well, I am really none the wiser after all that. I just think that if time is infinite then it can’t really have a beginning or an end. Perhaps time is like a Mobius Strip. This is the sort of thing that makes time travel stories so fascinating even though they are hard to understand. Nearly all my favourite sci fi shows feature some time travel. Doctor Who of course but episodes of Star Trek, Eureka and The Orville have all had time travel stories and of course we must not forget The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.