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I’m a Luke Barnes fan even though he would surely be critical of my ideas

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Luke Barnes has been mentioned favorably twice at Uncommon Descent. I mentioned him in Nuclear Physicist asks, “Why is PZ Myers so dumb?” and slams Victor Stenger to boot. VJ Torley mentioned him favorably in Is fine tuning a fallacy.

I “learned” intro cosmology from Barbara Ryden’s book, but I put “learned” in quotes because compared to Luke I know nothing, both about cosmology and about physics.

I admit I had to crawl in order to understand one fraction of Dr. Barne’s paper The Fine Tuning of the Universe for Intelligent Life which was highly critical of Victor Stenger’s claims. Because of that paper, Luke became an instant celebrity in ID circles like Uncommon Descent.

However, Luke recently offered some technical criticism of a post by Dr. Sheldon at Uncommon Descent Some Cosmological Introductions. I thought it was unnecessarily uncharitable since the original description was in informal language.

One issue is illustrated by a diagram I actually don’t recall ever seeing until Dr. Barne’s pointed it out. Maybe it was in Ryden’s book, but well, I had a lot of leaks in my learning:

null

I learned something today!

The majority of authors at UncommonDescent accept the Big Bang including Dr. Sheldon. All of them accept fine tuning. I’m in the fringe minority that reject the Big Bang. So I suppose, Luke will have a thousand times more criticism to heap upon my views, but I’ll listen because I regard his knowledge highly, and I know I’ll always have something to learn in the process.

Michael Disney and John Harnett articulate my dissent from the FLRW cosmology better than I. Hartnett describes many of my personal objections in the paper Is the Universe really Expanding?. What little I know of physics came from two schools GMU and JHU (where Riess is the famed researcher). At GMU there were professors like Menas Kafatos who advocated the Wolf Effect to explain some red shifts. With respect to Quasar Redshifts, because of the absence of time dilation in their blinking, plus other anomalies, I consider the quasar redshifts to be due to other factors such as mis-interpreted emission lines due to plasma laser action. Both the Wolf Effect and Plasma Laser action have been demonstrated in the lab, so I’m not exactly sure why we have to rush to judgment that redshifts are necessarily cosmological in the first place. FLRW are indeed solutions to Einstein Field equations, but a math solution does not necessarily mean a physical solution any more than negative mass is a math solution to F = ma, but it surely isn’t a physical solution (as far as I know).

From the simple question about what makes the redshift in the first place, everything else proceeds depending on how one answers it. I have no idea what the right cosmology is. Maybe we’re all a little premature in our assertions?

The great tragedy of Science — the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

TH Huxley

That could well be the epitaph of the Big Bang cosmology. But that’s my view, not most of the authors and participants at Uncommon Descent.

Nevertheless, we’re honored that someone of Luke’s caliber drops in at UD from time to time. One will learn a lot of physics just trying to understand what he says!

Photo credits: UVA

7 Replies to “I’m a Luke Barnes fan even though he would surely be critical of my ideas

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    OT:
    Cosmology is interesting, exciting, challenging, but can’t answer simple biology questions about the detailed description of the mechanisms involved in the “zygote to birth” human development and other issues.
    We need more research in biology, which can give us more bang for the buck, in terms of beneficial applications for new medicines and treatments.
    What’s the tangible benefit from cosmology, besides being sorta-kinda entertaining to some of us?

  2. 2
    ScuzzaMan says:

    What’s the tangible benefit from cosmology, besides being sorta-kinda entertaining to some of us?

    It buys a lot of intellectual yes-men who will lend their abilities to buttressing the status quo …

    Twas ever thus.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Dionisio

    What’s the tangible benefit from cosmology, besides being sorta-kinda entertaining to some of us?

    Knowing the geometric structure, and physical hierarchy, of the universe is important if you want to know if you live in a Theistic universe or not! Not a minor consideration. And there are a few clues coming in that confirm that we live in a Theistic universe. For instance, we find that the universe presents a circular sphere to us when looking at the Cosmic Background Radiation,,,

    Centrality of The Earth Within The 4-Dimensional Space-Time of General Relativity – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8421879

    Yet materialism/naturalism, and its base postulate of randomness/chaos which is ‘driving the material from behind’ as it were,,

    Intelligent Design Might Be Wrong, But Not the Way You Think by Stephen H. Webb – February 2014
    Excerpt: Darwin, like all moderns, believed that matter was something particular, that matter is composed of small bits of stuff called atoms, and thus it can be pushed from behind, as it were, without being pulled from beyond, by form.
    http://www.firstthings.com/web.....-causation

    “If you have no God, then you have no design plan for the universe. You have no prexisting structure to the universe.,, As the ancient Greeks held, like Democritus and others, the universe is flux. It’s just matter in motion. Now on that basis all you are confronted with is innumerable brute facts that are unrelated pieces of data. They have no meaningful connection to each other because there is no overall structure. There’s no design plan. It’s like my kids do ‘join the dots’ puzzles. It’s just dots, but when you join the dots there is a structure, and a picture emerges. Well, the atheists is without that (final picture). There is no preestablished pattern (to connect the facts given atheism).”
    Pastor Joe Boot – Defending the Christian Faith – 13:20 minute mark of video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqE5_ZOAnKo

    ,,, Materialism/Naturalism simply has no way of explaining why we live in a ‘almost’ perfectly circular sphere for a universe instead of some other myriad of other shapes that would be expected from a purely chaotic beginning for the universe that had no overarching control as to its unfolding.

    The Cosmic Background Radiation
    Excerpt: These fluctuations are extremely small, representing deviations from the average of only about 1/100,000 of the average temperature of the observed background radiation. The highly isotropic nature of the cosmic background radiation indicates that the early stages of the Universe were almost completely uniform. This raises two problems for (a naturalistic understanding of) the big bang theory.
    First, when we look at the microwave background coming from widely separated parts of the sky it can be shown that these regions are too separated to have been able to communicate with each other even with signals traveling at light velocity. Thus, how did they know to have almost exactly the same temperature? This general problem is called the horizon problem.
    Second, the present Universe is homogenous and isotropic, but only on very large scales. For scales the size of superclusters and smaller the luminous matter in the universe is quite lumpy, as illustrated in the following figure. ,,, Thus, the discovery of small deviations from smoothness (anisotopies) in the cosmic microwave background is welcome, for it provides at least the possibility for the seeds around which structure formed in the later Universe. However, as we shall see, we are still far from a quantitative understanding of how this came to be.
    http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/ast.....y/cbr.html

    Yet Theism, millennia before it was remotely plausible, ‘predicted’ that we would find a circular sphere:

    Proverbs 8:26-27
    While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    Job 26:10
    He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.

    Also of interest is two other places in the universe where ‘unexpected roundness’ is found:

    Sun’s Almost Perfectly Round Shape Baffles Scientists – (Aug. 16, 2012) —
    Excerpt: The sun is nearly the roundest object ever measured. If scaled to the size of a beach ball, it would be so round that the difference between the widest and narrow diameters would be much less than the width of a human hair.,,, They also found that the solar flattening is remarkably constant over time and too small to agree with that predicted from its surface rotation.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....150801.htm

    Bucky Balls – Andy Gion
    Excerpt: Buckyballs (C60; Carbon 60) are the roundest and most symmetrical large molecule known to man. Buckministerfullerine continues to astonish with one amazing property after another. C60 is the third major form of pure carbon; graphite and diamond are the other two. Buckyballs were discovered in 1985,,,
    http://www.3rd1000.com/bucky/bucky.htm

    “I do not believe that any physicist who examined the evidence could fail to draw the inference that the laws of nuclear physics have been deliberately designed with regard to the consequences they produce within stars.”
    Sir Fred Hoyle – “The Universe: Past and Present Reflections.” Engineering and Science, November, 1981. pp. 8–12

    Moreover, materialism/naturalism is also at a loss to explain why the universe continues to expand in such a finely-tuned way so as to maintain such a ‘perfect’ overall structure:

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Cosmological Constant (Expansion Of The Universe)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218/

    Here is the paper from the atheistic astrophysicists, that Dr. Ross referenced in the preceding video, that speaks of the ‘disturbing implications’ of the finely tuned expanding universe (1 in 10^120 cosmological constant):

    Disturbing Implications of a Cosmological Constant – Dyson, Kleban, Susskind (each are self proclaimed atheists) – 2002
    Excerpt: “Arranging the universe as we think it is arranged would have required a miracle.,,,”
    “A external agent [external to time and space] intervened in cosmic history for reasons of its own.,,,”
    Page 21 “The only reasonable conclusion is that we don’t live in a universe with a true cosmological constant”.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/hep-th/0208013.pdf

    Besides the many lines of evidence that Dr. Ross listed for the 1 in 10^120 finely tuned expansion of the universe, this following paper also clearly indicates that we do live in universe with a ‘true cosmological constant’. i.e. A cosmological constant that is not reducible to a materialistic basis. Thus, atheistic/materialistic astrophysicists are at a complete loss to explain why the universe expands in such a finely tuned way, whereas Theists are vindicated once again in their belief that the universal constants are transcendent!

    Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room – January 9, 2013
    Excerpt: Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished and found that there has been no change in the ratio to one part in 10 million at a time when the universe was about half its current age, around 7 billion years ago. When Thompson put this new measurement into his calculations, he found that it excluded almost all of the dark energy models using the commonly expected values or parameters.
    If the parameter space or range of values is equated to a football field, then almost the whole field is out of bounds except for a single 2-inch by 2-inch patch at one corner of the field. In fact, most of the allowed values are not even on the field. “In effect, the dark energy theories have been playing on the wrong field,” Thompson said. “The 2-inch square does contain the area that corresponds to no change in the fundamental constants, (a ‘true cosmological constant’), and that is exactly where Einstein stands.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-d.....-room.html

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Here are the verses in the Bible that Dr. Ross listed in the preceding video, which were written well over 2000 years before the discovery of the finely tuned expansion of the universe by ‘Dark Energy’, that speak of God ‘Stretching out the Heavens’; Job 9:8; Isaiah 40:22; Isaiah 44:24; Isaiah 48:13; Zechariah 12:1; Psalm 104:2; Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 51:13; Jeremiah 51:15; Jeremiah 10:12. The following verse is my favorite out of the group of verses:

    Job 9:8
    He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    The Truman Show – Truman walking on water – screenshot picture
    http://gaowsh.files.wordpress......0-pm-2.jpg

    Moreover, there is a ‘flatness’ to the universe that materialists are also at a loss to explain:

    The curvature of the space time of the universe is ‘flat’ to at least 1 in 10^15 places of accuracy
    http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

    Refutation Of Oscillating Universe – Michael Strauss
    https://vimeo.com/91775976

    And yet, once again, Theism predicted this overarching structure for the universe millennia before its was discovered:

    Job 38:4-5
    “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    Here is another geometric consideration of the universe, that was just brought to my attention, that also has Theistic overtones:

    Radio Astronomy reveals privileged position for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf

    Of note: The preceding article was written before the Planck data (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles, according to the person who was telling me about this discovery, were actually verified by Planck.

    A Large Scale Pattern from Optical Quasar Polarization Vectors – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.6118.pdf

    Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.0924.pdf

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Then there is the ‘anthropic inequality’ which points to Theism as well:

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History (To see the Cosmic Background Radiation) – Hugh Ross – video
    http://vimeo.com/31940671

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and The Anthropic Inequality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/8494065/

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    Cosmic GDP crashes 97% as star formation slumps – November 6, 2012
    Excerpt: If the measured decline continues, then no more than 5% more stars will form over the remaining history of the cosmos, even if we wait forever.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-11-c.....lumps.html

    At the 38:10 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Huterer speaks of the ‘why right now? coincidence problem’ for dark matter and visible matter:

    Dragan Huterer – ‘coincidence problem’ – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qTJc1Y7duM#t=2290

    As well, Robin Collins and Michael Denton both have recent papers out that refine ‘fine-tuning arguments to humans:

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    http://home.messiah.edu/~rcoll.....osting.pdf

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/.....O-C.2013.1

    Moreover, this following website also reveals an ‘unexpected’ geometric anomaly for the universe that is very interesting;

    The Scale of The Universe – Part 2 – interactive graph (recently updated in 2012 with cool features)
    http://htwins.net/scale2/scale.....olor=white

    The preceding interactive graph points out that the smallest scale visible to the human eye (as well as a human egg) is at 10^-4 meters, which ‘just so happens’ to be directly in the exponential center of all possible sizes of our physical reality (not just ‘nearly’ in the exponential center!). i.e. 10^-4 is, exponentially, right in the middle of 10^-35 meters, which is the smallest possible unit of length, which is Planck length, and 10^27 meters, which is the largest possible unit of ‘observable’ length since space-time was created in the Big Bang, which is the diameter of the universe. This is very interesting for, as far as I can tell, the limits to human vision (as well as the size of the human egg) could have, theoretically, been at very different positions than directly in the exponential middle of all possible sizes;

    Of course there is much more that could be pointed out Dionisio, but I think that is enough for now to let you know that there are ‘tangible benefit from cosmology’:

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    Lucie Silvas – Nothing Else Matters
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QohUdrgbD2k

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    bornagain77 @ 3, @ 4, @ 5

    Thank you for the excellent explanations you’ve written. You provide very interesting and valuable information. I’ll be busy reviewing what you wrote and the links you included.

    May God bless you. Happy Easter!

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Shroud photographer convinced of authenticity – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fyUHhTdSAs

    Happy Easter weekend!

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