It doesn’t disprove the Big Bang, says Brian Koberlein… but read the fine print. Fermilab’s Don Lincoln gets the religious implications all wrong:
Whoops! The history is quite different from what Dr. Lincoln must suppose. Originally, materialist atheists opposed the Big Bang precisely because it seemed too much like creationism or theism. But the available evidence supported it, which pleases most theists.
Some scientists who are theists have even built significant ministries around advocating the Big Bang as a reason for belief. Of all parties, that last group has the most to lose if the pattern of evidence changes. C’est la vie…
Straight-shooting theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray, takes the view that we don’t know and never will:News, “Astrophysicist: Webb finds may bring“ revolutionary changes”” at Mind Matters News
You may also wish to read:
Theoretical physicist: Can’t avoid a beginning for our universe. Recent shakeups from the James Webb Space Telescope images invite fundamental questions like, Does the universe have a beginning? The big Telescope made new data available, some of it “amazing.” And if it had only confirmed what we know, how would we know it had ever left the launch pad?
James Webb Space Telescope shows Big Bang didn’t happen? Wait… The unexpected new data coming back from the telescope are inspiring panic among astronomers. Webb was expected to merely confirm the Standard Model of the universe but its images are “surprisingly smooth, surprisingly small and surprisingly old.”
Takehome: Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder thinks we don’t know what happened and never will — and that the Big Bang is a “creation myth” in the language of math
It doesn’t disprove the Big Bang, says Brian Koberlein… but read the fine print. Fermilab’s Don Lincoln gets the religious implications all wrong. Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder thinks we don’t know what happened and never will — and that the Big Bang is a “creation myth” in the language of math.
13 Replies to “At Mind Matters News: Astrophysicist: Webb finds may bring “revolutionary changes””
Why does anyone listen to this person? Another member of the ‘I don’t know’ crowd?
Actually, I really appreciate Sabine Hossenfelder’s scientific honesty rather than the endless pseudo-scientific speculations and gobbledygook that some scientists, who are inebriated with their popularity, have a ideological drum to beat, or are trying to get notoriety, propound.
Dr. Hossenfelder wrote some books that chide her colleagues to stick to scientifically honest “I don’t know” answers when they really don’t know, and not to get caught up with mathematical formulas and models that are not backed by enough experimental evidence to justify them.
Her weakness is her commitment to deterministic materialism as more of an ideological position rather than a scientific one when considering QM interpretations.
Likewise, I’d wish that Darwinists and Origin-of-Life researchers would be more honest about being clueless about a lot of things. Biology seems to have devolved in these areas back to the level of “social science” theories and speculation. I shudder at the thought of Darwists’ frequent use of “musta,” “coulda,” and “mighta” speculations infecting physics.
Question from an amateur: Is this really news?
From an old Nature article:
Finding massive galaxies that stopped forming stars in the early Universe presents an observational challenge because their rest-frame ultraviolet emission is negligible and they can only be reliably identified by extremely deep near-infrared surveys. These surveys have revealed the presence of massive, quiescent early-type galaxies1 appearing as early as… three billion years after the Big Bang…. Deeper surveys have reported evidence for populations of massive, quiescent galaxies at even higher redshifts and earlier times, using coarsely sampled photometry. However, these early, massive, quiescent galaxies are not predicted by the latest generation of theoretical models. …..These observations demonstrate that the galaxy must have formed the majority of its stars quickly, within the first billion years of cosmic history in a short, extreme starburst…. The early formation of such massive systems implies that our picture of early galaxy assembly requires substantial revision. (Nature 544, 71–74 (06 April 2017)
Regardless of the freshness of this data, I have always been concerned about Christians hanging their hat on the Big Bang. It seems like the church took the wrong lesson from the Galileo affair. The real lesson seems: Be wary of scientific models even if they come from a “revered expert” like Aristotle. History shows models shift and change with the latest data and paradigm.
Major at 4,
I see the Galileo incident brought up constantly but posters are usually uninformed about what actually happened. No one is ‘hanging their hat’ on the Big Bang in the Christian world aside from the possibility that the so-called Big Bang, a totally assumed event, may or may not have happened. And IF it did, it may – may – point to a Creation event. An event beyond scientific confirmation.
On the theology side, it is taught that the universe had a beginning.
Hossenfelder does a great podcast interview this week on the Michael Shermer Show….
CD at 6,
The who show? I avoid podcasts in general…
Theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder thinks “we don’t know what happened and never will and…”
She also thinks “the Big Bang is a ‘creation myth’ in the language of math”.
If she doesn’t know what happened, then how does she know the Big Bang is a “creation myth”?
Hossenfelder’s thinking is not just illogical.
Determined stubbornness of such thinking is evidence of “insanity”, like insisting 2 + 2 = 7.
Great catch and good point!
@3: What you’re pointing out is how the popular scientific press is trending toward sensationalism. Plus, am I the only one who notices that, if the Big Bang theory from a singularity is true, then ALL points in the universe are EQUALLY old? The presumption that galaxies far, far away are necessarily older simply manifests a quaint geocentric view of the universe, right?
@4: True. linking a current view of the universe, which is constantly changing, to the Bible, which doesn’t change is foolish and harms both science and Biblical faith. For example, until 1927, the universe was viewed as static and eternal. People jeered at the Genesis account, which claimed light was created before the sun, moon, and stars. Hahaha.
Now, it’s commonly accepted in the scientific community that light existed during the inflationary period before stars formed as a result of decoupling photons from electrons and protons in the photon-baryon fluid.
Does this understanding prove the Bible? I’d say no, because in 50 years, the prevailing theory might be that stars formed before light, and in 50 more years, something else.
Red Reader @8,
While I generally like the approach Sabine Hossenfelder takes, I agree that she succumbs to her own ideological prejudices. For example, it’s refreshing to hear from a theoretical physicist that “We don’t know,” but consistent with her rants, I’d question what evidence we have that we will NEVER know.
She’s right about math being substituted for observational data, and she wrote a book about it:
Lost in Math :How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
Okay, this is a bit of “Hossenfelder hyperbole” in criticism of uncritical speculation. Her point is well-taken though: one can support ANY phenomena with math, but simplicity or beauty in math is not something that should guide physicists, but rather it should always follow the observationally simplest explanation.
She’s not insane, but suffering from some ideological poisoning called deterministic materialism. Unlike Dr. Hossenfelder, at least fellow theoretical physicist, Lee Smolin, is up front about his presumptions.
Q @ 10: “Any phenomena…”
My grammar Nazi can’t help it–
Any “phenomenoN…” Singular.
Phenomena — plural.
Grammar police fail. Is Querius referring to one thing or more than one? Reading the sentence, it is ambiguous. Phenomenon or phenomena work grammatically. We await clarification from Querius.
Yes, I meant it to be plural as written, but this is not to say that I don’t make grammatical errors, because I do. Perhaps I should have written ALL phenomena rather than ANY.
I also know that “data” is plural. (smile)