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:
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.
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