The Quick History of the Universe April 12, 2011

The Quick History of the Universe

If the Christianists in Tennessee get to teach Creationism in public schools, then it’s only fair that all churches should be required to play this fantastic TED Talk.

In it, David Christian presents “a complete history of the universe”:

It starts to get good at the 4:00 mark.

(Thanks to Eli for the link!)

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Wow, very powerful. I felt anxious watching parts of it; I felt like I needed to accumulate all that collective knowledge myself. For some reason, when I think about Big History, my head starts to ache.

    The Creation story is so much easier to digest.

  • anonymic

    Unfortunately Mr. Christian’s talk seems at first to unnecessarily conflate the impersonal mechanical functions of the universe to the survivalist goal of biological evolution and further to the intentional goals of man. With this in mind, I must respectfully disagree that it is beneficial for creationists to watch this video, quite the opposite. While the ideas portrayed are important, the lack of segregation between concepts coupled with the language used, I worry that this talk will be used to bolster creationist arguments and expect to see it thoroughly quote mined. Additionally I expect this video to drive talking points in the near future attempting to discredit scientists in terms of entropy being wrong.

    My first reaction to this talk is that it is a toe in the door for middling creationism, accepting of science but firmly ID. Mr. Christian seems to me to be simultaneously attempting to softly, gently, refute the second law of thermodynamics and reconcile the existence of biology with that very same law via the association of entropy and evolution. The way Christian asks how the universe can create complexity, then segues into the addition of information to a genome is worrying.

  • NewEnglandBob

    Not such a good presentation. The information is weak and biased.

  • Troglodyke

    I have a confession. I tried to watch it; I really did. But I don’t see why.

    I must be a crappy atheist. When the talk turns to th beginning of the Universe, I just tune out. I simply do not care. Obviously, it happened; it makes no sense that a supernatural being created it, so I buy the science version, but beyond that, I. Don’t. Care.

    When atheists start waxing on about it, and getting into debates with Xtians about it, I am done. To me, it’s not an important discussion. At all.

    There are so many more poignant and provable ways to disprove god. So many nonbelievers spend so much time with this part of the “debate,” and I’m baffled by it. The discussion of morals, dignity, our natures, and how to be the best humans we can be is, to me, WAY more important to talk about.

    Maybe it’s because I’m getting old (and my brain can only hold so much information), but I just don’t care about how we got here. I consider myself intelligent, but I have no desire to debate this with anyone, let alone a Xtian.

    Of course, if it’s your cup of tea, have at it!

  • I feel exactly the opposite, Troglodyke. I find hearing and learning about the origins of things fascinating in and of itself. No need to always bring religious debate into it–the concept of just being able to look at things so vast as this blows my mind.

    *takes a sip of tea*

  • AxeGrrl

    Troglodyke wrote:

    There are so many more poignant and provable ways to disprove god. So many nonbelievers spend so much time with this part of the “debate,” and I’m baffled by it.

    Hmm, this video was about ‘disproving god’?

    I didn’t get that from it at all. It just seemed like a pretty straightfoward “this is where we came from (cool, eh!) and why we should be mindful of possibly f***ing things up”.

    Didn’t see any particular relation to the believer/non-believer debate at all. Did I miss something?

  • So, wait, DNA can learn stuff? Cool, can I teach my DNA to fix me a cup of tea in the morning ready for when I wake up?

    On a more serious note that was an excellent talk. Very informative. Despite what Troglodyke above might think it was nothing to do with refuting God. It was simply telling the story of the formation of our universe and the stuff in it. It sign posted the important milestones (initial formation, creation of matter, stars, heavier elements etc etc) that are all necessary for the universe we currently find ourselves in. Who can fail to be amazed by such a story?

    Against that however I can already imagine the objections that the religious will raise. Oh well, you can lead a Christian to Knowledge… 😉

  • Blacksheep


    There are so many more poignant and provable ways to disprove god.

    This video is certainly not one of them!

    “…around us there is nothing. There’s not even time or space… and the suddenly – BAM! – a universe appears. And it contains everything that’s in todays universe…”

  • In bringing up the 2nd law of thermodynamics, I wish he would have said that the 2nd law is actually never violated even with localized increases in complexity and order. These localized increases in complexity and order always occur at a price of an even greater decrease in complexity and order elsewhere. The universe always pays Peter by taking (even more) from Paul. That is how it works. Thermodynamically, life is possible on Earth because of the huge entropy increase that happens with the fusion reaction of the sun. This huge entropy increase (from the sun) allows for a much smaller localized entropy decrease in some situations on Earth.

    You don’t need an old bearded white man in a flowing gown breathing life into the cosmos and waving hands to create life-forms in his own image so they can worship him… and then condemning the creation to hell unless they also worship some alternative incarnation of himself (as his own son). Those notions are just from the imaginations of the uneducated (or the religiously indoctrinated).

  • NotYou007

    Was cool to watch but it was nothing I didn’t already know.

  • Jessica

    I may sound pedestrian, but I love to learn about science (I am not scientifically minded at all) in easy-to-digest nuggets! I want to learn more about…well everything, but just feel overwhelmed and intimidated.

    I’m glad this wasn’t an anti-ID talk- even bringing it up in the discussion is giving it more merit than it deserves.

    Overall I thought it was pretty engrossing.

  • parv

    One, where are my fried eggs on a toast?

    Two, lighting was great, especially when seeing the back. Details, or at least folds in shirt & pants were clearly visible.

    Three and most importantly, I would like an extended version please, along with entropy related corrections stated above.

    How about those eggs now, eh? (Damn, I am hungry again … )

  • Troglodyke

    Well, I never said the video was about refuting god.

    I said that trying to refute god by using a lot of talk about the origins of the universe bores me. And I don’t think it changes minds.

    I’m glad there are people who enjoy it.

  • e-man

    I would like more info on the first moment – the universe small as an atom fully complete and expanding … without some form of energy or catalyst what pops that into being?

  • Justin

    Nothing? Emptiness? Evidence needed. Show me some nothing.

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