Cosmogony is any model concerning the origin of either the cosmos or the universe. There are two forms of models that emulate the origins of the beginning of the cosmos/universe: Scientific Theories and Creation Myths.
Scientific Theories in Cosmogony
In astronomy, cosmogony refers to the study of the origin of particular astrophysical objects or systems, and is most commonly used in reference to the origin of the Universe, the Solar System, or the Earth–Moon system.
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model of the early development of the universe. The most commonly held view is that the universe originated in a gravitational singularity, which expanded extremely rapidly from its hot and dense state.
Cosmologist and science communicator Sean M. Carroll explains two competing types of explanations for the origins of the singularity which is the main disagreement between the scientists who study cosmogony and centers on the question of whether time existed "before" the emergence of our universe or not. One cosmogonical view sees time as fundamental and even eternal: The universe could have contained the singularity because the universe evolved or changed from a prior state (the prior state was "empty space", or maybe a state that could not be called "space" at all). The other view, held by proponents like Stephen Hawking, says that there was no change through time because "time" itself emerged along with this universe (in other words, there can be no "prior" to the universe). Thus, it remains unclear what combination of "stuff", space, or time emerged with the singularity and this universe.
One problem in cosmogony is that there is currently no theoretical model that explains the earliest moments of the universe's existence (during the Planck time) because of a lack of a testable theory of quantum gravity. Researchers in string theory and its extensions (for example, M theory), and of loop quantum cosmology, have nevertheless proposed solutions of the type just discussed.
Cosmogonists have only tentative theories for the early stages of the universe and its beginning. As of 2011[update], no accelerator experiments probe energies of sufficient magnitude to provide any experimental insight into the behavior of matter at the energy levels that prevailed shortly after the Big Bang.
Proposed theoretical scenarios differ radically, and include string theory and M-theory, the Hartle–Hawking initial state, string landscape, brane inflation, the Big Bang, and the ekpyrotic universe. Some of these models are mutually compatible, whereas others are not.
Creation Myths in Cosmogony
Creation Myths provide the theological framework of cultures regarding the creation of the universe. The Creation Myth of each culture may vary, but they may share a similar symbol or deity. For example, Zeus, the God of all gods is identical to the Roman God, Jupiter. One of the reasons for the similarity in deities of different cultures is explained by Carl Jung and his idea of the archetype. Carl Jung, also known as Jungian analysis, depicts how every individual's unconscious mind [see also Dream] is the reason for cultures having similar symbols, images, and deities despite being geographically displaced from each other.
Creation Myths not only relay the process in which the world is created, but centralizes the human.
Different Types of Cosmogonic Myths
There are different types of cosmogonic myths, or creation stories that portray how the cosmos, or the universe is created.
Several Cosmogonic Myths begin via a deity, or group of deities. Sir James George Frazer and Sir Edward Burnett Tylor, 19th-century scholars whose research augmented human theology and culture revealed that the process in which the world is created by a deity is the zenith of cultural evolution.
In this type of creation story, the earth is incepted by drawing on the power of the centralized earth. Similar to the Judeo-Christian God's creation of the earth in 7 days, the process of creation occurs in stages. This is also known as Metamorphosis, in which the world begins much like the life of a caterpillar in its journey to a butterfly. Navajo myths are prevalent in depicting this kind of creation. For example, in the Zuni myth,
"Anon is the nethermost world, the seed of men and creatures took form and increased; even as in eggs in warm places speedily appear . . . Everywhere were unfinished creatures, crawling like reptiles one over another, one spitting on another or doing other indecencies . . . until many among them escaped, growing wiser and more manlike."
This type of creation begins with the binary female and male copulating to form the world.
Animals are given the agency to create the world in this type of cosmogonic myth.
Compared with Cosmology
Cosmogony can be distinguished from cosmology, which studies the universe at large and throughout its existence, and which technically does not inquire directly into the source of its origins. There is some ambiguity between the two terms. For example, the cosmological argument from theology regarding the existence of God is technically an appeal to cosmogonical rather than cosmological ideas. In practice, there is a scientific distinction between cosmological and cosmogonical ideas. Physical cosmology is the science that attempts to explain all observations relevant to the development and characteristics of the universe as a whole. Questions regarding why the universe behaves in such a way have been described by physicists and cosmologists as being extra-scientific (i.e., metaphysical), though speculations are made from a variety of perspectives that include extrapolation of scientific theories to untested regimes (i.e., at Planck scales), and philosophical or religious ideas.
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