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The Beginning of Time Essay

In his blog titled “Huck, Jim, and Cosmology,” Joe Bauman effectively disarms his reader by using characters in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to introduce one of the liveliest areas in the discourse between science and religion – the paradoxical debate regarding how the universe came into existence. Bauman achieves this by employing an informative but neutral tone, detached diction, and common ground to place his reader on the level of an objective scholar seeking certainty. Throughout the article, Bauman’s syntax demonstrates to his audience that he is both sincere and knowledgeable with the issues relating to cosmology. By studying stars, constellations, and the “incomprehensible universe” through his own telescope, he creates a sentimental but provocative notion with his reader. The author often questions himself and popular belief to create a sense of doubt in his audience. Bauman goes back and forth between creationism and evolution.

However, his diction while studying the desert stars at night leads him in the direction of intelligent design. Bauman evokes wonder in his audience when, “I… take off my glasses just so that I can stare with averted vision toward the fuzzy light and know I am seeing with my own eyes a vast stellar city of many billions of stars…” By using loaded language such as “averted vision” and “a vast stellar city”, the audience can picture staring up at the stars themselves, just like Huck and Jim did on their raft. Even though Bauman never stated his direct view on the beginning of the universe, with emotional words and phrases, the audience infers his experiences with the stars are more than scientific formulas and theories. While writing on the evolutionistic side of the spectrum, Bauman’s scientific research establishes credibility with his audience.

Bauman stated that just in the past 100 years, scientists have discovered a possible 100 billion galaxies just like ours. The farthest able to be photographed was 13 billion light years away. Through research like this, Bauman is able to understand not only intelligent design, but also a scientific creation of the universe. He stated that a more recent idea about the Big Bang came about from the collision of membranes in other dimensions. Bauman then questions the creation of those dimensions themselves. Then, Bauman metaphorically compares stars to heavy artillery when, “Was ours just one shot of a Big Bang Bang Bang Bang, cosmic machinegun fire going on forever?”

Even though this comparison is intended to be amusing through a scientifically stimulating topic, Bauman maintains common ground by placing himself and the reader on the same level. In addition, by connecting Huck who is “wholly ignorant of astronomy and cosmology” to our modern day debate where nobody really knows for certain, Bauman provokes his reader to question reality. Bauman develops a proposition that we do not have to agree on only one side and that mankind may not be capable of divining the answers to how the universe came into existence. Instead, we can try to cognize both sides of the argument and be satisfied with the theory that maybe the creation of the universe was not meant to be figured out by humans.

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