Bad News for Big-Bangers

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by danrusdad, Jun 15, 2004.

  1. danrusdad

    danrusdad
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    Even the unbelievers are jumping the big bang ship...


    An Open Letter to the Scientific Community cosmologystatement.org (Published in New Scientist, May 22, 2004)

    The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed-- inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.But the big bang theory can't survive without these fudge factors. Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature and thus emit the same amount of microwave radiation. Without some kind of dark matter, unlike any that we have observed on Earth despite 20 years of experiments, big-bang theory makes contradictory predictions for the density of matter in the universe. Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big bang nucleosynthesis, the theory's explanation of the origin of the light elements. And without dark energy, the theory predicts that the universe is only about 8 billion years old, which is billions of years younger than the age of many stars in our galaxy.What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The successes claimed by the theory's supporters consist of its ability to retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centered cosmology of Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.Yet the big bang is not the only framework available for understanding the history of the universe. Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model both hypothesize an evolving universe without beginning or end. These and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of the cosmos, including the abundances of light elements, the generation of large-scale structure, the cosmic background radiation, and how the redshift of far-away galaxies increases with distance. They have even predicted new phenomena that were subsequently observed, something the big bang has failed to do. Supporters of the big bang theory may retort that these theories do not explain every cosmological observation. But that is scarcely surprising, as their development has been severely hampered by a complete lack of funding. Indeed, such questions and alternatives cannot even now be freely discussed and examined. An open exchange of ideas is lacking in most mainstream conferences. Whereas Richard Feynman could say that "science is the culture of doubt", in cosmology today doubt and dissent are not tolerated, and young scientists learn to remain silent if they have something negative to say about the standard big bang model. Those who doubt the big bang fear that saying so will cost them their funding.Even observations are now interpreted through this biased filter, judged right or wrong depending on whether or not they support the big bang. So discordant data on red shifts, lithium and helium abundances, and galaxy distribution, among other topics, are ignored or ridiculed. This reflects a growing dogmatic mindset that is alien to the spirit of free scientific inquiry.Today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology are devoted to big bang studies. Funding comes from only a few sources, and all the peer-review committees that control them are dominated by supporters of the big bang. As a result, the dominance of the big bang within the field has become self-sustaining, irrespective of the scientific validity of the theory. Giving support only to projects within the big bang framework undermines a fundamental element of the scientific method -- the constant testing of theory against observation. Such a restriction makes unbiased discussion and research impossible. To redress this, we urge those agencies that fund work in cosmology to set aside a significant fraction of their funding for investigations into alternative theories and observational contradictions of the big bang. To avoid bias, the peer review committee that allocates such funds could be composed of astronomers and physicists from outside the field of cosmology. Allocating funding to investigations into the big bang's validity, and its alternatives, would allow the scientific process to determine our most accurate model of the history of the universe.
    If you want to sign this statement , please click here

    Signed:(Institutions for identification only)

    Halton Arp, Max-Planck-Institute Fur Astrophysik (Germany)Andre Koch Torres Assis, State University of Campinas (Brazil)Yuri Baryshev, Astronomical Institute, St. Petersburg State University (Russia)Ari Brynjolfsson, Applied Radiation Industries (USA)Hermann Bondi, Churchill College, University of Cambridge (UK)Timothy Eastman, Plasmas International (USA)Chuck Gallo, Superconix, Inc.(USA)Thomas Gold, Cornell University (emeritus) (USA)Amitabha Ghosh, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (India)Walter J. Heikkila, University of Texas at Dallas (USA)Michael Ibison, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (USA)Thomas Jarboe, University of Washington (USA)Jerry W. Jensen, ATK Propulsion (USA)Menas Kafatos, George Mason University (USA)Eric J. Lerner, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (USA)Paul Marmet, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics (retired) (Canada)Paola Marziani, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio Astronomico di Padova (Italy)Gregory Meholic, The Aerospace Corporation (USA)Jacques Moret-Bailly, Université Dijon (retired) (France)Jayant Narlikar, IUCAA(emeritus) and College de France (India, France)Marcos Cesar Danhoni Neves, State University of Maringá (Brazil)Charles D. Orth, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA)R. David Pace, Lyon College (USA)Georges Paturel, Observatoire de Lyon (France)Jean-Claude Pecker, College de France (France)Anthony L. Peratt, Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA)Bill Peter, BAE Systems Advanced Technologies (USA)David Roscoe, Sheffield University (UK)Malabika Roy, George Mason University (USA)Sisir Roy, George Mason University (USA)Konrad Rudnicki, Jagiellonian University (Poland)Domingos S.L. Soares, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)John L. West, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology (USA)James F. Woodward, California State University, Fullerton (USA)New signers of the Open letter since publicationScientists and EngineersGarth A Barber, independent researcher, UKMartin John Baker, Loretto School Musselburgh, UKPeter J Carroll, Psychonaut Institute, UKRoger Y. Gouin, Ecole Superieure d'Electricite, FranceJohn Murray, Sunyata Composite Ltd, UKJonathan Chambers, University of Sheffield, UKMichel A. Duguay, Laval University, CanadaQi Pan, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UKFred Rost, University of NSW (Emeritus), AustraliaLouis Hissink, Consulting Geologist, AustraliaHetu Sheth, Earth Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, IndiaLassi Hyvärinen, IBM(Ret), FinlandMax Whisson, University of Melbourne, AustraliaR.S.Griffiths, CADAS, UKAdolf Muenker, Brane Industries, USAFrancis Sedgemore, Danish Space Research Institute (ret.), DenmarkFelipe de Oliveira Alves, Federal University of Minas Gerais, BrazilJean-Marc Bonnet-Bidaud, Service d'Astrophysique, CEA, FranceKim George, Curtin University of Technology, AustraliaTom Van Flandern, Meta Research, USADoneley Watson, IBM (ret.), USAFred Alan Wolf, Have Brains / Will Travel, USARobert Wood, IEEE, CanadaD. W. Harris, L-3 Communications, USAEugene Sittampalam, Engineering consultant, Sri LankaJoseph.B. Krieger, Brooklyn College, CUNY, USAPablo Vasquez, New Jersey Institute of Technology, USAPeter F. Richiuso, NASA, KSC, USARoger A. Rydin, University of Virginia (Emeritus), USAStefan Rydstrom, Royal Institute of Technology, SwedenSylvan J. Hotch, The MITRE Corporation (Retired), USAThomas R. Love, CSU Dominguez Hills, USAAndrew Coles, Embedded Systems, USAEit Gaastra, independent researcher, NetherlandsFranco Selleri, Università di Bari, Dipartimento di Fisica, ItalyGerald Pease, The Aerospace Corporation, USAS.N. Arteha, Space Research Institute, RussiaMiroslaw Kozlowski, Warsaw University (emeritus), PolandJohn Hartnett, School of Physics, University of Western Australia, AustraliaRobert Zubrin, Pioneer Astronautics, USATibor Gasparik, SUNY at Stony Brook, USAAlexandre Losev, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BulgariaHenry Hall, University of Manchester, UKJosé da Silva, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, BrazilMarkus Rohner, Griesser AG, SwitzerlandWilliam C. Mitchell, Institute for Advanced Cosmological Studies, USAAurea Garcia-Rissmann, UFSC, BrazilCristian R. Ghezzi, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, BrazilDaniel Nicolato Epitácio Pereira, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, BrazilOther SignersGregory M. Salyards, US Naval Sea Systems Command (ret.), USAJoseph A. Rybczyk, Independent Researcher, USALuiz Carlos Jafelice, Federal University of the Rio Grande do Norte, BrazilMichael Sosteric, Athabasca University, CanadaSteven Langley Guy, University of Elizabeth (Physics Department), AustraliaRobert Fritzius, Shade Tree Physics, USAIrineu Gomes Varella, Escola Municipal de Astrofísica, BrazilLuiz Carlos Barbosa, Unicamp, BrazilMauro Cosentino, University of São Paulo, BrazilMoacir Lacerda, Univeersidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul, BrazilRoberto Assumpcao, PUC Minas, BrazilRoberto Lopes Parra, University of Sao Paulo, BrazilRonaldo Junio Camppos Batista, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, BrazilErmenegildo Caccese, University of Basilicata, ItalyFelipe Sofia Zanuzzo, Federal University of São Carlos, BrazilEdival de Morais, Sociedade Brasileira de Física, BrazilGraham Coupe, KAZ Technology Services, AustraliaRichard Wayte, independent researcher, UKTom Walther, Southern Cross University Australia , AustraliaAntonio Cleiton, Laboratório de Sistemas Complexos - UFPI, BrazilSergey Karpov, L.V.Kirensky Institute of Physics Russian Academy of Sciences,RussiaWagner Patrick Junqueira de Souza Coelho Nicácio, Universidade Federal deMinas Gerais, BrazilSokolov Vladimir, Special Astrophysical Observatory of RAS, Russia
     
  2. UTEOTW

    UTEOTW
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    The obvious question becomes then what DO these people believe. ( I am going under the assumption that you think the universe is young.) First, there do not seem to be too many actual astronomers on the list, so for many of these people, their opinion on the matter is no better that your opinion or mine. It seems that those who are astronomers either go for some form of steady state universe or for some sort of plasma theory. Now, what is the benefit for you of supplanting one old universe theory for another? I do not believe that any of these guys are actually advocating a young universe.

    As an example, let's take the first person on your list, Arp, who does happen to be an astronomer. His ideas boil down to a continous creation of matter in the universe. I think he has described that what we normally think of as colliding galxies are actually new galxies of new material being formed. He replaces the creation of all matter and energy at one point (sound familar if a bit longer ago than you think) with an ongoing creation of matter. But nothing to support a young universe.

    But beyond that, there are a number of falsehoods in the statement they made. For space, let's consider two. First, the author asserts that inflation makes no predictions nor has any observational evidence. One prediction of inflation is that the small scale variations shortly after the Big Bang gave rise to the large scale structure that we see today. Observationally, it predicts that if you look at the variation at various points in time, they should be the same. And with the new cosmic microwave background (CMB) data, this has been confirmed. The variation in scale is the same whether you are looking at flucuations in the CMB, or at the distribution of galaxies in the past or the distribution of galaxies today.

    Second, it asserts that there is not any observational evidence for dark matter. Three examples. First, if we look at a spiral galaxy, add up all the visible matter and then measure the rotational velocities of the galaxy, we find that there is not enough mass to explain the motion according to the laws of how things orbit. This implies that there is a mass of unseen matter. Reconciling the visible matter with the observed rotation rates tell us how much dark matter is in the galaxy. Second, we can look at clusters of galaxies and also add up all the visible matter. Then we use some method of checking the actual mass. Perhaps another galaxy lies behind the cluster and has its light bent when passing the cluster. The measured mass is different than what can be observed, again telling us how much dark matter is present. Third, by looking at the details of the CMB, we can directly measure how much dark matter is present by its effects. These three different methods all give consistent results of about 5 times as much dark matter as ordinary matter.
     
  3. Michael52

    Michael52
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    One wonders whether these scientists are advocating this view strictly on it scientific merits. Atheists would dearly love for the "steady-state" model to be true. Steady-state means that the universe has always existed and is itself eternal. If this is true, then the universe is CO-ETERNAL with God and this would mean the universe IS God! Many scientists who are not true atheists tend to be pantheists. An eternal universe fits nicely with their theology.

    One reason that the Big-Bang theory has always been challenged by many scientists, is that it seems to fit the traditional Christian doctrine of "creation ex nihilo" in a way that troubles them. Objectively, scientists should let the data shape the science, not their theology (or lack of).

    I would be careful of associating too strongly with new scientific theories that seemingly pit one group of scientists against another when one side seems to reject the theory I don't like. In other words, "The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend."
     
  4. Paul of Eugene

    Paul of Eugene
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    The Big Bang theory is the main contender for the origin of the universe right now and it will remain the main contender in spite of every "flaw" discovered until, and only until, a better theory takes its place.

    That is the way all scientific theories have historically been removed. There is no reason to suppose the Big Bang theory will be any different.
     

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