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Christian Darwinist Karl Giberson weighs in on the recent gravitational waves discovery

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Karl W. Giberson
Karl W. Giberson

Re which, here: Giberson, no surprise, trashes most Christians in sight, including Rob Sheldon, who wrote

This cosmic balancing act caused many theorists to search for a reason, a cause that would remove the “fine tuning” of the Big Bang. Guth’s solution was to have the Big Bang operate like a giant pressure cooker whose lid has just been forcibly removed. All the water, all the spinach in the pot would instantly boil, creating a volcano of spinach dripping off the ceiling. This is what physicists demurely call a “spontaneous phase change.”

Guth wants spacetime in the very early Big Bang to spontaneously boil and expand faster than the speed of light, which would have the side benefit of making everything “flat” afterwards, everything covered in an equal amount of spinach. Nearly all cosmologists accepted this model in one form or another, preferring it to the increasingly disturbing “fine tuning” argument employed by advocates of intelligent design among others.

But Guth’s speculation has proved hard to demonstrate. Numerous theoretical problems have sent it back to the drawing board, and it is now in its third or fourth iteration. One theorist bemoaned that the inflation model now needs tuning also, perhaps as great as 1 part in 10^100, making the cure worse than the disease. So it seems as if the model will die a death of a thousand cuts if we don’t give it a data transfusion soon. That is why so many people are seeing this BICEP2 result as Nobel Prize material, because it not only rescues the favored model of cosmologists, but also saves the jobs of a thousand people at two national labs who are having to justify their expensive failure.

Giberson offers in response,

The initial response from the Discovery Institute, the headquarters of the Intelligent Design (ID) movement, maligned the motivations of the cosmologists searching for the gravity wave, claiming they found more theologically friendly models of the Big Bang “disturbing,” and wanted to refute them. The recent discovery of the gravity waves—after years of searching—is being trumpeted by the scientific community because it “saves the jobs of a thousand people at two national labs who are having to justify their expensive failure.

Actually, it is true that modern cosmologists “found more theologically friendly models of the Big Bang ‘disturbing,’ and wanted to refute them.” They have, to their credit, never made any secret of it. So much more honest than pretending there is some big science problem that urgently requires discrediting the Big Bang.  It’s not surprising they would celebrate a minor reprieve from facing reality.

The drive to tack the multiverse on, like party streamers tacked to a parade float, tells us something about that.

 See also: Science-Fictions-square.gif The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology) for more on how we got to where a cosmology for which there is no evidence is somehow considered a model of science.

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@ Aqeels: "This is where cosmology struggles to find answers and we have to accept the possibility that we may never know." Yes, in a scientific sense, we will never know because God has been eliminated as a possible answer from the get go. tjguy
Not sure why anyone would think that inflation removes the fine tuning issue. As Roger Penrose clearly argues in a number of informative youtube videos, inflation does very little to overcome the highly organized (lowest entropy) initial state of our universe. The low entropy of our beginning is ultimately what we need to account for in our models without recourse to the exotic (i.e. multi-verse theory). Inflation could be thought of as smooth expansion with the speed up factor set to some incredible number. It’s obvious to see that this makes no difference to the fine tuning present in the initial state. This is where cosmology struggles to find answers and we have to accept the possibility that we may never know. aqeels
AND, over at the infamous Answers in Genesis, PhD astronomer Danny Faulkner responds to this misinformed critique of Giberson here: http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/danny-faulkner/2014/03/25/recent-excitement-over-cosmos-and-cosmic-inflation/ I will post the article here: Things eventually settled down here at Answers in Genesis after the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate last month, but last week things heated up again, at least for me. First, I’m sure that many of you have been watching the new Cosmos TV series on the Fox Network and other channels. I’ve enjoyed the show, though, of course, there are many things that I disagree with. I’ve done several interviews about the show. One of these was on the Janet Mefford Show on the Salem Radio Network Thursday of last week, March 20 (listen to the audio). The following day, The Wire reported that I (or alternately, the Creation Museum) allegedly had demanded equal time on the Cosmos show. They even provided the audio clip where I supposedly made this demand. I say “supposedly,” because if you play the clip, you’ll easily notice that I made no such demand. Other websites quickly picked up the story, such as the Examiner.com. The International Business Times further embellished the story, having me making my alleged demand in an interview with Right Wing Watch. That detail isn’t true either, because the interview was with Janet Mefford, not Right Wing Watch, which has since been corrected on the International Business Times article. Right Wing Watch has never interviewed me, but I had better be careful, because they might use my words to claim that I’m demanding that they do interview me! Responding to the Supposed Evidence for Cosmic Inflation But there was another big event last week. You probably heard about the announcement on Monday, March 17, about the claim of the discovery of evidence for cosmic inflation in the early big bang universe. I quickly prepared a very brief initial response that went up on the Answers in Genesis website the same day. TheBlaze.com took notice and ran a piece on my article. Additionally, though he didn’t mention my name, Dr. Karl W. Giberson published a rebuttal to my brief response to the inflation announcement at The Daily Beast. Giberson, a professing Christian but who believes in evolution, began with this statement: The “Big Bang” theory of the origin of the universe got a big boost this week when scientists reported the discovery of 14-billion-year-old echoes of the universe’s first moments—the first proof of an expanding universe, and the last piece of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. It’s a little late to be the first confirmation of an expanding universe, because Edwin Hubble did that 85 years ago. I think that Giberson has confused expansion with inflation. These are very different terms, with specific definitions. Expansion refers to the rate at which the universe is getting larger. That rate is far slower than the speed of light, and we can measure that in the here and now. Inflation is the hypothetical hyper-expansion that the early universe experienced. Inflation supposedly was far, far faster than light. Inflation is a rescuing device to explain away two large problems for the big bang model, the flatness and horizon problems. Since this is an alleged past process, it is not observable today. Apparently, Giberson doesn’t know the difference. Properly Understanding Last Week’s Announcement In my short article I made three points. Giberson commented on the first point: The leading evangelical anti-science organization is Answers in Genesis (AIG), headed by Ken Ham, the guy who recently debated Bill Nye. AIG’s dismissive response to the discovery is breathtaking in its hubris and lack of insight into how science works. They call for Christians to reject the discovery because the “announcement may be improperly understood and reported.” No, we’re not an anti-science organization. Here at Answers in Genesis we love science, but we understand the difference between observational and historical science. Giberson starts with man’s ideas as his authority and not God’s Word for understanding the past. Unfortunately, like so many other anti-creation critics, Giberson likes to lodge that accusation against anyone who dares to differ with him on evolution and a billions-year-old universe. It’s a shame that he can’t make an argument without insults such as this. Yes, this announcement is improperly understood. Giberson’s confusion indicated above proves my point. Model-Dependent Evidence or Evidence-Dependent Models? Leaving out his snide remark about the lost airplane, Giberson continued with his second point: Secondly, Answers in Genesis complains that the predictions being confirmed in the discovery are “model-dependent.” They fail to note that every scientific prediction ever confirmed, from the discovery of Neptune, to DNA, to the Ambulecetus transitional fossil is “model-dependent.” The whole point of deriving predictions in science is to test models, hypotheses, theories. Giberson totally fails to understand my point here, because he doesn’t seem to understand the nature of the claim made last week. The researchers collected a huge amount of data, but they can’t pinpoint any particular polarization data supporting their conclusion. Rather, their argument is based upon statistics gleaned from the data, which introduces an entirely new model in addition to the particular model of the big bang that they used. (The big bang is not a single model, but rather there is a large range in the values of parameters within the model, such as inflation, but there are limits to those values.) And the researchers admitted that one aspect of the amount of polarization, the value of r (the ratio of gravitational wave perturbations to density perturbations), is much higher than the model would predict. It’s been my experience with the big bang model that when the prediction fails to match the data, they alter the model to match the data, and then claim complete agreement between predictions and data. But if a model can be modified indefinitely to match any and all new data, can it be falsified? If a theory cannot be disproved, then it hardly is observational science. The comparison to Neptune’s discovery is baseless. The discovery of Neptune was the result of a search at the position of a hypothesized eighth planet on the basis of Newton’s law of gravity used to explain oddities in the orbit of Uranus. That search easily and quickly revealed an object in the proper position. The model stood or fell on the basis on that one datum–either the predicted planet was there or it wasn’t. If that planet were not there, then the model was disproved. This announcement last week doesn’t resemble this in the slightest. I’ll leave it to others to comment on Giberson’s further examples. Concluding Ignorant Assertions In attempting to refute my third point, Giberson wrote the following: Finally, AIG suggests that “other mechanisms could mimic the signal,” implying that, although the startling prediction was derived from Einstein’s theory of general relativity and the inflationary model of the Big Bang, it could have come from “some other physical mechanism.” No alternative mechanism is suggested. B-mode polarization on a small angular scale can come from gravitational lensing of CMB radiation as it passes large masses, an effect already detected. The question is whether B-mode polarization exists on a larger angular scale, which is the prediction of inflation theory. I don’t know if anyone has yet suggested a model of how this larger scale B-mode polarization could come about, but I expect that they have or soon will. (Indeed, someone has: as I was writing this post, this article came to my attention.) This assumes that the large angular scale B-mode polarization even exists, which was the point of the announcement last week. The signal was very weak, which is why there is some doubt about the reality of the signal. The fact that the result was announced in probabilistic terms is testament to that. But Giberson’s ignorance is not restricted to this recent announcement about the supposed discovery of evidence of cosmic inflation. He went on in his article to claim that the Hebrew word raqia means “bowl” or “dome.” The noun raqia comes from a verb that means to stamp, roll, press, or stretch out. It does not mean “bowl.” In Ezekiel 1:22 raqia could refer to a dome, but in the context of Genesis 1, it cannot. Giberson also went on to repeat the common misunderstanding of how in the Galileo affair the Roman Catholic Church opposed Galileo’s scientific theories on theological or biblical grounds. Actually, it was other scientists, quoting Aristotle and Ptolemy, who led the charge against Galileo. It was years before the scientists were able to enlist the help of the theologians. Thus, it was a scientific squabble, not a theological one. According to his biography at the Daily Beast website, Giberson has a PhD in physics. Frankly, I’m very disappointed with Giberson’s rebuttal. tjguy
New analysis of this claim over at icr.org
'Smoking Gun' Evidence of Inflation? by Jake Hebert, Ph.D. | Mar. 21, 2014 On March 17, a team of radio astronomers announced they discovered purportedly direct evidence for cosmic inflation—a critical component of the modern Big Bang model. To make this discovery, the researchers used a specialized telescope called BICEP2 located on the Antarctic plateau.1 Radiation that has its strongest intensity in the microwave portion of the electromagnetic spectrum comes to us from all directions in space. Secular researchers interpret this cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) as "relic radiation" from a time about 400,000 years after the alleged cosmic explosion. Now, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics claims to have found faint, swirly patterns, called "B-mode polarization," that are thought to have been imprinted on the CMB by primordial "gravity waves" as a result of the inflationary process. The original Big Bang model had a number of serious and even fatal difficulties, including its own version of the "starlight and time" problem known as the horizon problem.2 In an attempt to solve these issues, secular scientists proposed an ad hoc "tack-on" to the model called inflation. Inflation was originally said to be an extremely rapid but brief growth spurt of the universe that occurred shortly after the supposed Big Bang, although secular cosmologists now tend to view it as the cause of the Big Bang itself.3 Do the BICEP2 data really show undeniable evidence for cosmic inflation, and by implication, the Big Bang? Not at all. First, these results have not yet been confirmed, and even secular cosmologists are cautioning that these signals could be caused by factors other than inflation, although they believe this is unlikely.1 Second, although secular scientists are very excited by this discovery, they were nevertheless "surprised" by it.1 Gravitational waves are thought to have caused these swirly polarization patterns. The relative size of these waves is characterized by a parameter called the tensor-to-scalar ratio and indicated by the symbol r. A previous team of scientists who analyzed the Planck satellite data concluded that there was only a five percent probability that r could be greater than 0.11.4 Yet the BICEP2 team is reporting that r is most likely about 0.20. Since their reported error bars allow for some wiggle room, these results do not necessarily contradict one another, but there is a bit of a tension between them, as acknowledged by the BICEP2 team.5 In this light, a statement by physicist Marc Kamionkowski is extremely interesting: "Although I might not fully understand it,…this is a signal from the very earliest universe, sending a telegram encoded in gravitational waves."6 The fact that a physicist may not "fully understand" the implications of these data might not normally be all that significant, except for the fact that Kamionkowski is one of the scientists who first predicted that inflation should have resulted in B-mode polarization in the CMB!7 If he doesn't fully understand the implications of the data, then why should anyone accept the claims that these data somehow prove inflation? Interestingly enough, the candid admission in the first part of Kamionkowski's statement was quickly removed from the online New York Times article in which it originally appeared, although it did appear in other news outlets.1,6,8 Finally, other aspects of the CMB data are very problematic for the Big Bang model, despite the positive spin that secular scientists have put on them. One of the fundamental assumptions of the Big Bang model is isotropy, the idea that, on the largest scales, there are no special directions in space. If this assumption is correct, then the CMB should appear essentially the same in all directions. Yet the presence of an "axis of evil" and a cold spot in the CMB data undermine this assumption, as well as the inflation hypothesis itself. Originally, secular theorists thought they could dismiss these anomalies as the result of poor-quality data. The newer Planck results, however, do not leave them this convenient option.9,10 Just last year, Phys.org reported Cambridge astrophysicist and member of the Planck team George Efstathiou as saying, "[T]he theory of inflation predicts that today's universe should appear uniform at the largest scales in all directions" and that the "uniformity should also characterize the distribution of fluctuations at the largest scales within the CMB. But these anomalies, which Planck confirmed, such as the cold spot, suggest that this isn't the case."11 Finally, he went on to say, "[T]his is very strange....And I think that if there really is anything to this, you have to question how that fits in with inflation....It's really puzzling."11 So, we are now being told that the CMB radiation proves inflation, even though we were informed just last year that it is also apparently inconsistent with inflation. So what did cause the CMB? That's an open question. But since the CMB data are generally inconsistent with inflation (a fact quickly glossed over in Monday's announcement), it is definitely not "leftover" radiation from an alleged Big Bang. Secular scientists have made many such splashy announcements over the years, announcements which have supposedly proven various aspects of their evolutionary worldview but which have eventually been rejected (often quietly) by evolutionists themselves. This is not the first such announcement, nor will it be the last. Readers should resist the temptation to embrace these ever-changing secular origin stories. The inerrant, inspired, true creation account never changes, however: "The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever" (Isaiah 40:8).
Beginning for the Universe? - Which Worldview is Correct? - Stephen Meyer - 13:00 minute mark of video A Cosmological Argument for God's Existence, pt. 2 - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Rw4WCmp7t0#t=793 bornagain77
Not impressed with Lemaitre's wisdom in other areas. The time for Christians to 'get off the back foot' in relation to reconciling science with Christianity is long overdue: specifically, it should have taken off in 1909, when Einstein established the invariance of the speed of light. 'If the math fits, wear it!' There... I've just coined a nice, truculent 'bon mot.' Axel
Guth wants spacetime in the very early Big Bang to spontaneously boil and expand faster than the speed of light
This alone tells me that Alan Guth is a crackpot. Spacetime cannot change by definition. This is why it's called Einstein's "block universe" by none other than Sir Karl Popper (Conjectures and Refutations). The concept of gravitational waves as ripples in spacetime is also hogwash for this very reason. Alan Guth knowledge of spacetime physics is seriously lacking. Mapou
Newton’s actual view, and his actual argument in the Principia, are so blatantly theistic that only the most willful blindness could miss it.
The worst blindness does not manifest in persons that don't see, but in those who don't want to see. Dionisio
Of related note: Cosmos continues to try to rewrite history: Now It's Newton: Ideology Continues to Trump History in Cosmos - Jay W. Richards March 24, 2014 Excerpt: When Newton was born, Tyson explains, people thought the Solar System had been created by God. In the Principia, which Tyson describes as the "opening pages of modern science," Newton succeeds in replacing God, that master clockmaker, with ... gravity. This would have been surprising to Newton. And it would be surprising to any literate reader of the Principia, and especially the section known as the General Scholium. There, Newton argued from the very clockwork of the Solar System to the activity and existence of a transcendent God. It's true that Newton's "teleo-mechanistic" view of the universe differed from the Aristotelian understanding that had dominated the pre-Copernican cosmology. Explaining this, however, would have been required philosophical acumen far beyond what we've seen so far in Cosmos. Still -- and here's the main point -- Newton's actual view, and his actual argument in the Principia, are so blatantly theistic that only the most willful blindness could miss it. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/03/now_its_newton_083601.html bornagain77
nullasalus, Thank you for the explanation. Didn't realize one could put those two words together, though. Dionisio
What does that expression mean ?
It means that he affirms that evolution is completely unguided, man was accidental, as is quite possibly all of creation itself. If you ask how he squares this with his belief in God, he winces, wrings his hands and mumbles 'Questions like that are difficult. So very, very difficult. There's a lot of different opinions on the subject. I think man is not in a position to know. We just have to have faith.' nullasalus
Christian Darwinist
What does that expression mean ? Dionisio

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