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Astrophysicist: Nothingness” may be the answer to our cosmic questions; Rob Sheldon responds

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The real story of the universe isn’t the matter, he says, it’s the void: “And when it comes to understanding the universe, “nothing” is very powerful.”

Of course, the voids are not entirely empty. There are some dim, scattered dwarf galaxies floating around inside these mostly empty areas. And dark matter and some hydrogen managed to cling to life inside those empty, parched stretches. But by and large, the voids really are void. And because of this voidiness, ironically, the voids are filled with one thing: dark energy.Paul Sutter, “Why ‘Cosmic Nothingness’ May Hold Secrets of the Universe” at LiveScience

Rob Sheldon, our physics color commentator and author of Genesis: The Long Ascent, responds:

This article illustrates the reason why the scientific method is going extinct, not just in Darwin’s circular logic, but also in physics and cosmology.

Years ago, when models of the Big Bang and subsequent evolution of the Universe were being built, they noticed a problem, or actually, a series of problems. If enough matter was put into the model to get the galaxies to form, it all clumped up in the middle and made a single, monstrous black hole. But if they increased the power of the explosion to avoid this fate, the universe became a tenuous gas of hydrogen expanding everlastingly into the void.

The solution was to add noise, pockets of higher density matter in the Big Bang explosion like fragments of a grenade. These pockets became the galaxies. This sorta kinda worked, creating a universe of superclusters, big collections of galaxies. However, galaxy surveys that used robotic telescopes to look deep into the heavens, did not find these pockets, instead they found a web, as described in the article.

Simultaneously, measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (NASA/COBE) did not find the matter irregularities assumed, but instead found a butter-smooth Big Bang, with clumps no bigger than 1:100,000 more dense. Such a smooth explosion would never create galaxies, much less the web recently discovered.

Their solution was to add two invisible things to the models, two unobserved theoretical ideas, two dials. One was a “clumper” called “dark matter” that would get the galaxies started without contributing to the CMBR, and the other was an “expander” called “dark energy” that acted as anti-gravity yeast, to make the bubbles (or galactic voids). Now mind you, there is no theoretical necessity, no direct evidence for either one of these things (pax Perlmutter & Rubin), rather they are inferred through the application of a model. If the model is changed, so are these two items. They have only as much reality as the model itself, or perhaps even less, because variant models add or subtract these quantities. I have to stress this, because theorists think their models are “real”, and hence the strange article by Paul Sutter.

The Long Ascent: Genesis 1â  11 in Science & Myth, Volume 1 by [Sheldon, Robert]

Why do I find it strange?

Because after positing the existence of two dials to improve the model fit to reality, they then turn around and say that the existence of these dials proves the model is correct. Here is the quote:

And dark matter and some hydrogen managed to cling to life inside those empty, parched stretches. But by and large, the voids really are void. And because of this voidiness, ironically, the voids are filled with one thing: dark energy.

This is the name we give to the accelerated expansion of the universe, as well as for whatever’s causing it. We don’t really know what dark energy is, but our best current guess is that it has something to do with the vacuum of space-time itself; where there’s vacuum, there’s dark energy.”

Paul Sutter, “Why ‘Cosmic Nothingness’ May Hold Secrets of the Universe” at LiveScience

Notice how the model is treated as data when he says “the name we give to the accelerated expansion of the universe” as if the astronomy of the past 10 years can determine the changes in 100’s of megaparsecs of the universe over timescales of billions of years. (It can’t.) All they have done is to add more dials to the model until it looks like the astronomy picture–which is the well-known practice throughout science called “curve-fitting” or “ad hoc explanations”. Eleven more epicycles may keep Ptolemy’s model working for another 30 years, but in the end, Ptolemy was toast, and Copernicus knew it.

Biologists are waking up to the fact that despite all the epicycles, Darwin is toast. Isn’t it about time cosmologists did likewise?

See also, re dark matter and dark energy: Discover: Even the best dark matter theories are crumbling

Researcher: The search for dark matter has become a “quagmire of confirmation bias” So many research areas in science today are hitting hard barriers that it is reasonable to think that we are missing something.

Physicists devise test to find out if dark matter really exists

Largest particle detector draws a blank on dark matter

What if dark matter just doesn’t stick to the rules?

A proposed dark matter solution makes gravity an illusion

Proposed dark matter solution: “Gravity is not a fundamental governance of our universe, but a reaction to the makeup of a given environment.”

Researchers: Either dark energy or string theory is wrong. Or both are. But dark energy is so glitzy! Isn’t it a line of cosmetics already?

Researchers: The symmetrons needed to explain dark energy were not found

Rob Sheldon: Has dark energy finally been found? In pop science mags?

Are recent dark energy findings a blow for multiverse theory?


Science at sunset: Dark energy might make a multiverse hospitable to life… if it exists

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4 Replies to “Astrophysicist: Nothingness” may be the answer to our cosmic questions; Rob Sheldon responds

  1. 1
    ScuzzaMan says:

    as if the astronomy of the past 10 years can determine the changes in 100’s of megaparsecs of the universe over timescales of billions of years

    This has always been the problem with all the “deep time” dating methods: the statistical validity of the conclusion is always nil. We simply don’t have a statistically valid sample by which to extrapolate (linearly, or by whatever curve you prefer; the problem remains the same) back over 15 billion years.
    But when your argument is made in support of materialism the rules don’t apply.
    We see this same double standard in many other fields, in social networks, in politics, in the war on terror, and etc. I call it the “It’s OK when WE do it!” clause.
    Officially right-thinking people don’t have to follow the rules, which is kind of ironic given the liberal challenge to the historical order was based on (A) the claim that the regnant order was based purely on power, and (B) the claim that a liberal order would be based on reason.
    In Christian Austria after the first world war the political class erected a monstrous idol to themselves at taxpayers expense, a statue of the goddess of wisdom, Pallas Athene, at the doors of the parliament of the new republic. The people of Vienna have their revenge in the oft-heard saying:
    Wisdom is outside the parliament.

  2. 2
    vmahuna says:

    Can’t we just gape in awe and mumble, “Oh, WOW…”? And then stare and gape some more?
    There were individuals who believed (knew) that the Earth was round in 1000 BC or some such. They knew this in part because there was a well in Upper Egypt (up the Nile, SOUTH) that on certain days (once in the Spring, once in the Fall) the Sun shown DIRECTLY down the well without any shadow. But then the Sun moved IN RELATION TO THE EARTH and cast shadows down the well again. Most of the camel drivers who also knew of this weren’t impressed.
    So did it make a DIFFERENCE if the Earth WAS round? Well, no. It has no effect at all on 99% of what humans do every day (Martha, can you pass me a clean diaper? Johnny filled this one up REAL good.). And in fact, navigation over short distances (less than 50-100 miles per segment) works better if you assume the earth (that is, the dirt under your feet) is FLAT.
    The existence of God and the Intelligent Design of Humans does NOT depend on how God created the universe. Although I suppose evidence that The Universe was built and kick-started by a WHIM has gotta scare the pants off hard-core Atheists.

  3. 3
    doubter says:

    “Their solution was to add two invisible things to the models, two unobserved theoretical ideas, two dials. One was a “clumper” called “dark matter” that would get the galaxies started without contributing to the CMBR,…”

    I thought that, rather than Big Bang theorizing, the primary driver for the supposition of “dark matter” was the observation of anomalous rotation rates at various distances from the center in very many galaxies. Anomalous, that is, assuming the galaxy masses corresponded to the matter visible as stars, dust and gases. This seems to me to be direct evidence for something like “dark matter”, or perhaps under certain conditions some factors affecting the gravitational constant.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Of semi-related interest:

    Planck reveals an almost perfect Universe (Disconfirms inflationary models) – video
    Quote at 2:00 minute mark: “What’s surprising in Planck’s latest findings and is inconsistent with prevailing theories, is the presence of unexpected large scale anomalies in the sky. Including a large cold region. Stronger fluctuations in one half of the sky than the other. And less light signals than expected across the entire sky.”
    Planck spokesman: “When we look at only the large features on this (CMBR) map you find that our find that our best fitting theory (inflation) has a problem fitting the data.”
    “Planck launched in 2009,, is the 3rd mission to study the Cosmic Microwave Background to date. While these unusual features in the sky were hinted at the two previous US missions, COBE and WMAP, Planck’s ability to measure the tiniest of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background has made these so called anomalies impossible to ignore.”
    Planck spokesman: “Because of these features that we are finding in the sky, people really are in a situation now where they cannot ignore them any more. ,,, We’ve established them (the anomalies) as fact!”.

    What is curious about these ‘anomalies’ in the CMBR (that cannot be explained by the ‘simple’ inflation model of materialists), is that these ‘anomalies’ in the Cosmic Background Radiation also strangely line up with the earth and solar system.

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist who specializes in this area of study, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video

    Moreover besides the earth and solar system lining up with the anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence 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.

    What is interesting about these large scale structures of the universe, i.e. quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe, (i.e. distributions that reveal a “surprising rotational coincidence for Earth”), is that the tiny temperature variations (in the CMBR) correspond to the largest scale structures of the observable universe.

    How do we know the universe is flat? Discovering the topology of the universe – by Fraser Cain – June 7, 2017
    Excerpt: With the most sensitive space-based telescopes they have available, astronomers are able to detect tiny variations in the temperature of this background radiation.
    And here’s the part that blows my mind every time I think about it. These tiny temperature variations correspond to the largest scale structures of the observable universe. A region that was a fraction of a degree warmer become a vast galaxy cluster, hundreds of millions of light-years across.
    The cosmic microwave background radiation just gives and gives, and when it comes to figuring out the topology of the universe, it has the answer we need. If the universe was curved in any way, these temperature variations would appear distorted compared to the actual size that we see these structures today.
    But they’re not. To best of its ability, ESA’s Planck space telescope, can’t detect any distortion at all. The universe is flat.,,,
    Since the universe is flat now, it must have been flat in the past, when the universe was an incredibly dense singularity. And for it to maintain this level of flatness over 13.8 billion years of expansion, in kind of amazing.
    In fact, astronomers estimate that the universe must have been flat to 1 part within 1×10^57 parts.
    Which seems like an insane coincidence.

    Thus, contrary to the presumption of atheists, far from the temperature variations in the CMBR being a product of randomness as they presuppose, the temperature variations in the CMBR correspond to the ‘largest scale structures of the observable universe’ and these ‘largest scale structures of the observable universe’ reveal “a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth”. Moreover, we were only able to discover this correlation between the tiny temperature variation in the CMB and the largest scale structures in the universe via the ‘insane coincidence’ of the universe being fine-tuned to at least 1 in 10^57 flatness.

    Moreover, the way in which they were able to detect the anomalies in the CMBR, which ‘strangely’ line up with the earth and solar system, is that they ‘smeared’ and/or ‘averaged out’ the tiny temperature variations in the CMBR.

    Here is an excellent clip from the documentary “The Principle” that explains, in an easy to understand manner, how these ‘anomalies’ were found, via ‘averaging out’, in the tiny temperature variations in the CMBR data.

    Cosmic Microwave Background Proves Intelligent Design (disproves Copernican principle) (clip of “The Principle”) – video

    In other words, the “tiny temperature variations” in the CMBR, (from the large scale structures in the universe, to the earth and solar system themselves), reveal teleology, (i.e. a goal directed purpose, a plan), that specifically included the earth from the start. ,,, The earth, from what our best science can now tell us, is not some random cosmic fluke as atheists had presupposed.


    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.”

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