Big Bang Cosmology Intelligent Design

Rob Sheldon on whether we have the Big Bang theory all wrong

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Rob Sheldon

One of our favourite physicists on this recent claim at Nautilus:

All that Hans-Jörg Fahr wants is for someone to prove him wrong. A professor of astrophysics at the University of Bonn in Germany, he has taken a stand against nearly the entire field of cosmology by claiming that the diffuse glow of background microwave radiation which bathes the sky is not, as is commonly believed, a distant echo of the Big Bang, the universe’s fiery moment of creation. The idea held by the cosmology community that tiny temperature fluctuations in this microwave background tell us about the clumpiness of the early universe, he says, is wrong. The rank and file cosmologist may as well be doing Rorschach tests.

Understandably, his ideas have met with skepticism among many. Glenn Starkman, a professor of physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, puts it this way: “If you seek to replace a successful theory with an alternative, then [you] must demonstrate that your alternative explains a similarly full range of phenomena… In this task [Fahr and his colleagues] have not done due diligence.” But at the same time, Fahr’s ideas are rooted in physics that has already been proven in other systems, and they make falsifiable predictions. Pressed to defend his controversial position, the unorthodox theorist stands his ground. Whether he likes it or not, Fahr has become a cosmological iconoclast.

First, cosmologists have been trying to falsify the Big Bang for decades. Many admit that they do not like it because of its theistic implications. One cannot interpret the story intelligibly without knowing that background. The passion for claims about a multiverse is incomprehensible apart from that background.

Anyway, Rob Sheldon writes, by way of assessment of this latest buzz,

While I am not a big fan of several accreted aspects of the Big Bang model–namely, inflation, multiverse, dark matter, cosmological constant, baryon-acoustic-oscillations, and big-bang-nucleosynthesis–nevertheless, I am a fan of a beginning to space and time. This article is about a resurrection of the steady-state universe model, one which attracts a small number of dedicated materialists the way Darwinism attracts angry atheists.

But none of his objections carry much weight. The cosmic-ray microwave background radiation doesn’t have Lyman alpha line spectra because it isn’t created by hot hydrogen–its created by lonesome electrons. Conversely, the CMBR isn’t smeared out by the vacuum because we *do* have Lyman alpha from quasars that are not smeared out, and the difference between 13.7 billion ly of smearing (CMBR) and 12 billion ly (quasars) of smearing shouldn’t be all that great unless the vacuum keeps changing its properties–but then it wouldn’t be steady-state any more.

So whether he’s a genius or not I can’t tell from this article, but he doesn’t sound serious.

See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train

and The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology) for why naturalist atheists are pretty much forced to try to disprove the Big Bang.

17 Replies to “Rob Sheldon on whether we have the Big Bang theory all wrong

  1. 1
    Neil Rickert says:

    Just a small technical point on headline writing.

    There’s a significant difference between “we have the big bang theory all wrong” and “the big bang theory has it all wrong”.

  2. 2
    JoeCoder says:

    While I am not a big fan of several accreted aspects of the Big Bang model–namely… dark matter,

    What’s wrong with dark matter? Isn’t it necessary one way or another in order for galaxies to have enough mass to not spin apart?

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    The Big Bang, dark matter, dark energy, gravitational waves, Darwinian evolution, etc., like almost everything else we are taught in this world, are just a worthless pile of BS propaganda. 😀

  4. 4
    vh says:

    what Mapou said

  5. 5
    lukebarnes says:

    A few minor quibbles:

    1. “The cosmic-ray microwave background radiation” – I assume cosmic-*ray* is a typo. The article is about the cosmic microwave background radiation.

    2. “it isn’t created by hot hydrogen–its created by lonesome electrons”.

    It’s *scattered* by lonesome electrons. The photons in the CMB are created during matter-antimatter annihilation in the very early universe. They outnumber baryons by about a billion to one.

    Later, when the matter in the universe recombines into neutral atoms, and the CMB is last scattered, recombination will produce Lyman series photons. On average, 2 Lyman alpha photons are emitted for every three combinations. And so, CMB photons outnumber Lyman series photons by about a billion to one.

    3. Not a fan of baryon-acoustic-oscillations? They’ve been observed: http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.2862 . You might as well say you’re not a fan of galaxies.

    4. Not a fan of big-bang-nucleosynthesis? What part of prediction confirmed by observation is not to like?

  6. 6
    Mapou says:

    lukebarnes,

    Do you understand why a particle in inertial motion stay in motion? Don’t tell me. I’m just kidding. I know you don’t. If physicists are clueless as to the nature of something as fundamental as motion, how can we trust them about the beginning of the universe?

  7. 7
    mazda says:

    the thunderbolts project has shown our errors of understanding

    e.g. see this video: ‘ big shock for big bang ‘

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_c9M33FLH40

  8. 8
    leodp says:

    Young-earth creationists have long refused the Big Bang. In this they are joined by materialists who don’t like a universe with a beginning. Seems to me that both are driven by philosophic prejudice, rather than either good science or good theology.

  9. 9
    Acartia_bogart says:

    Leodp:

    Young-earth creationists have long refused the Big Bang. In this they are joined by materialists who don’t like a universe with a beginning. Seems to me that both are driven by philosophic prejudice, rather than either good science or good theology.

    Who said that materialists have a problem with the big bang theory?

  10. 10
    anthropic says:

    Fred Hoyle, for one. That’s why he came up with the Steady State theory.

    Einstein, for another. That’s why he made what he later called “the biggest mistake of my career”, proposing a cosmological constant fudge factor to be added to his equations so that a beginning could be avoided.

    Most of the advocates of a multiverse, for another. If one and only one universe exists, how to explain the fine tuning of the initial conditions, constants, and physical laws without letting a Divine Foot into the door?

  11. 11
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Antoine Suarez has a new video lecture up:

    Quantum Physics and Relativity 1: You can’t have one without the other. – Antoine Suarez – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQK37ZfHuzY

    Quantum Physics and Relativity 2: The visible comes into existence from the invisible. – Antoine Suarez – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxuOE2Bo_i0

    A few semi-related notes to the lecture:

    Contextuality is ‘magic ingredient’ for quantum computing – June 11, 2012
    Excerpt: Contextuality was first recognized as a feature of quantum theory almost 50 years ago. The theory showed that it was impossible to explain measurements on quantum systems in the same way as classical systems.
    In the classical world, measurements simply reveal properties that the system had, such as colour, prior to the measurement. In the quantum world, the property that you discover through measurement is not the property that the system actually had prior to the measurement process. What you observe necessarily depends on how you carried out the observation.
    Imagine turning over a playing card. It will be either a red suit or a black suit – a two-outcome measurement. Now imagine nine playing cards laid out in a grid with three rows and three columns. Quantum mechanics predicts something that seems contradictory – there must be an even number of red cards in every row and an odd number of red cards in every column. Try to draw a grid that obeys these rules and you will find it impossible. It’s because quantum measurements cannot be interpreted as merely revealing a pre-existing property in the same way that flipping a card reveals a red or black suit.
    Measurement outcomes depend on all the other measurements that are performed – the full context of the experiment.
    Contextuality means that quantum measurements can not be thought of as simply revealing some pre-existing properties of the system under study. That’s part of the weirdness of quantum mechanics.
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-w.....antum.html

    LIVING IN A QUANTUM WORLD – Vlatko Vedral – 2011
    Excerpt: Thus, the fact that quantum mechanics applies on all scales forces us to confront the theory’s deepest mysteries. We cannot simply write them off as mere details that matter only on the very smallest scales. For instance, space and time are two of the most fundamental classical concepts, but according to quantum mechanics they are secondary. The entanglements are primary. They interconnect quantum systems without reference to space and time. If there were a dividing line between the quantum and the classical worlds, we could use the space and time of the classical world to provide a framework for describing quantum processes. But without such a dividing line—and, indeed, with­out a truly classical world—we lose this framework. We must ex­plain space and time (4D space-time) as somehow emerging from fundamental­ly spaceless and timeless physics.
    http://phy.ntnu.edu.tw/~chchan.....611038.pdf

    “I do believe in the physical, concrete universe as real. It isn’t just an illusion. However, being a Christian, I can say, also, that the spiritual realm is even more real than the physical. More real, in this sense, however, isn’t to be taken to mean that the physical is “less” real, but that it is less important. The physical, ultimately, really derives its significance from the spiritual, and not the other way around. I submit to you, though, that the spiritual reality, in some sense, needs the physical reality, just as a baseball game needs a place to be played. The game itself may be more important than the field, but the game still needs the field in order to be played. The players are the most important part of the game, but without bats, balls, and gloves, the players cannot play. Likewise, without a physical, concrete reality, the spiritual has “no place to play”. Love, without a concrete reality, has no place to act out its romance; joy has nothing to jump up and down on, and consciousness has nothing to wake up to.” –
    Brent – UD Blogger

    Kurt Godel, who proved you cannot have a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, without allowing God to bring completeness to the ‘Theory of Everything’, also had this to say:

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.”
    Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    At the 9:40 minute mark of the following video, C.S. Lewis comments on God ‘playing the role of a person’:

    Finding Shakespeare by C.S. Lewis Doodle – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXlBCZ_5OYw

    Moreover, as would be expected if General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics/Special Relativity (QED) were truly unified in the resurrection of Christ from death, the image on the shroud is found to be formed by a quantum process. The image was not formed by a ‘classical’ process::

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

    verse and music

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Kari Jobe – Revelation Song
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/1426670477001

  12. 12
    lukebarnes says:

    Mapou

    “Do you understand why a particle in inertial motion stay in motion?”

    Because Galilean spacetime contains an affine structure, according to which trajectories can be characterised as straight or curved but not assigned an absolute velocity. There is no fact about whether a given particle is stationary or in motion – velocities are relative.

    “If physicists are clueless as to the nature of something as fundamental as motion, how can we trust them about the beginning of the universe?”

    Because, when we make hypotheses about the universe, we then go to all the bother of actually checking whether the facts are consistent with our hypotheses.

  13. 13
    Mapou says:

    lukebarnes:

    Mapou

    “Do you understand why a particle in inertial motion stay in motion?”

    Because Galilean spacetime contains an affine structure, according to which trajectories can be characterised as straight or curved but not assigned an absolute velocity. There is no fact about whether a given particle is stationary or in motion – velocities are relative.

    Showing off does not help you, man. I hesitate to continue, seeing that you don’t understand that relative motion is abstract by definition and that therefore, it does not exist physically, and that this leaves us with absolute motion as the only possibility. So, given your obvious handicap, let me rephrase the question thus: What causes two particles in relative inertial motion to remain in motion. Hint: neither words nor mathematics keep them in relative motion.

    Oh, by the way. Did you know that nothing can move in spacetime? Apparently not. I sense that I’m wasting my time here.

    “If physicists are clueless as to the nature of something as fundamental as motion, how can we trust them about the beginning of the universe?”

    Because, when we make hypotheses about the universe, we then go to all the bother of actually checking whether the facts are consistent with our hypotheses.

    Yeah, right. Let’s see now. How many “scientific” hypotheses have not been tested? Hell, can they even be tested? Examples: continuity, time dimension (which makes motion impossible, surprise!), space (which can be easily shown to be abstract and equally non-existent), Big Bang, multiple universes, dark matter, dark energy, cats that are both dead and alive, life arising from dirt all by itself, microbes turning into elephants over billions of years, etc. I could go on but I suspect the pain must be unbearable by now.

  14. 14
    R0bb says:

    Mapou:

    Showing off does not help you, man. I hesitate to continue, seeing that you don’t understand that relative motion is abstract by definition and that therefore, it does not exist physically, and that this leaves us with absolute motion as the only possibility. So, given your obvious handicap…

    Thank you, Mapou, for your compassion toward poor handicapped Luke Barnes. He just isn’t capable of understanding physics the way you do.

  15. 15
    anthropic says:

    leodp 8 August 6, 2014 at 9:25 am

    “Young-earth creationists have long refused the Big Bang. In this they are joined by materialists who don’t like a universe with a beginning. Seems to me that both are driven by philosophic prejudice, rather than either good science or good theology.”

    leodp, I think there are two reasons YECs dislike the Big Bang.

    One, of course, is that they think it gives enough time for evolution to really work. They have far more faith in evolution than people commonly assume!

    Second is that they misunderstand the Big Bang as a causal theory. Basically they feel that one can either believe God created the Universe, or the Big Bang did it. They are almost uniformly shocked when I tell them that materialists are the ones who oppose the Big Bang precisely because of its theistic implications.

  16. 16
    Mapou says:

    R0bb:

    Thank you, Mapou, for your compassion toward poor handicapped Luke Barnes. He just isn’t capable of understanding physics the way you do.

    I’m sure you are mistaken. 🙂 I have no compassion toward lukebarnes, whoever he is.

  17. 17
    tjguy says:

    Check out this write up on recent cosmological discoveries that may double the number of stars in space!!

    From crev.info/2014/11/astronomers-missed-half-the-visible-universe/#sthash.wd3R6P2O.dpuf

    Dark matter[on which the Big Bang depends] still has “no explanation whatsoever,” and meanwhile, half of the real stars in the universe have been hiding in plain sight.

    Like government accountants saying “Whoops” at finding twice as much debt in their books as thought, astronomers have stumbled upon a whole population of stars that may outnumber all the known stars in the universe. Stars flung out from galaxies constitute a “mystery sea of stars,” Science Daily says. A Caltech rocket instrument surprised astronomers with a glow they think comes from these wanderers:

    Using an experiment carried into space on a NASA suborbital rocket, astronomers have detected a diffuse cosmic glow that appears to represent more light than that produced by known galaxies in the universe. The discovery suggests that many such previously undetected stars permeate what had been thought to be dark spaces between galaxies, forming an interconnected sea of stars.

    While it’s always delightful to learn something new about space, it’s also embarrassing to find half of visible reality undiscovered till now. “Measuring such large fluctuations surprised us, but we carried out many tests to show the results are reliable,” the study leader confessed. The discovery means that part of the glow does not come from the first galaxies after the big bang, but are more recent:

    Initially some researchers proposed that this light came from the very first galaxies to form and ignite stars after the Big Bang. Others, however, have argued the light originated from stars stripped from galaxies in more recent times. CIBER was designed to help settle the debate.

    Fluctuations in the glow appear to be too bright to be from the first galaxies. The light, furthermore, is too bluish:

    In short, Zemcov says,

    “although we designed our experiment to search for emission from first stars and galaxies, that explanation doesn’t fit our data very well. The best interpretation is that we are seeing light from stars outside of galaxies but in the same dark matter halos. The stars have been stripped from their parent galaxies by gravitational interactions — which we know happens from images of interacting galaxies — and flung out to large distances.”

    It will take more work to be sure, but that’s the best explanation they have for now. S. H. Moseley titled his write-up of the paper in Science Magazine, “The other half of the universe?” This may represent a case astronomers fooled by cosmic steganography:

    The history of astronomy has largely been concerned with the study of discrete objects: planets, stars, and galaxies. From such observations, we have discovered the nature and evolutionary histories of these objects. It is natural to ask whether these studies provide a comprehensive picture of the evolution of the universe, or whether large numbers of objects too faint to detect individually or intrinsically diffuse sources may be present. On page 732 of this issue, Zemcov et al. (1) present results from a study of near-infrared background light that reveal that as many as half of all stars have been stripped from galaxies in their many collisions and mergers over the history of the universe. At galactic distances, the stars are faint but can be detected in ensemble through the spatial variations in sky brightness caused by their spatial distributions. It is remarkable that such a major component of the universe could have been hiding in plain sight as an infrared background between the stars and galaxies.

    Although this diffuse glow is not the same as the cosmic microwave background (CMB), “The existence of such a population of sources complicates the measurement of the fluctuations from the early universe,” Moseley says, suggesting that the BICEP team may have more worries to deal with (see 9/25/14). So here is something majorly new after decades of the Hubble Space Telescope and other high-tech instruments scanning the skies at all wavelengths. Moseley’s astonishment is as palpable as a bang: “It should not be easy to hide half the stars in the universe!”

    Mysteries and Dark Secrets

    That’s not the only surprise. Astronomers are dealing with these additional mysteries announced recently:

    “Mystery over monster cosmic cloud” (BBC News). Astronomers are debating “a cosmic confrontation between a huge gas cloud and the black hole at the centre of our galaxy.” Is it a merger? Why should we be so lucky to see it happen?

    Quasar puzzle (Nature): “An infrared census of accreting supermassive black holes across a wide range of cosmic times indicates that the canonical understanding of how these luminous objects form and evolve may need to be adjusted.”

    “First ultraluminous pulsar: NuSTAR discovers impossibly bright dead star” (PhysOrg): A compact powerhouse with the energy of 10 million suns is not a black hole, but a pulsar. This pulsar “takes the top prize in the weirdness category.”

    “The mystery of pulsar rarity at the center of our galaxy” (PhysOrg): Where are they? “With so many stars, astronomers estimate that there should be hundreds of dead ones. But to date, scientists have found only a single young pulsar at the galactic center where there should be as many as 50.” It seems really suspect to pose this ad hoc rescue device: “Maybe those pulsars are absent because dark matter, which is plentiful in the galactic center, gloms onto the pulsars, accumulating until the pulsars become so dense they collapse into a black hole.” See next story.

    “Universe is older than it looks” (PhysOrg): Can a star be older than the universe? Explaining a “Methuselah star” requires tweaks to dark matter and dark energy theories, but “Dark energy and dark matter are, as have been discussed widely, controversial physical phenomena for which we have absolutely no explanation whatsoever,” the article whimpers.

    “Hungry black hole eats faster than thought possible” (PhysOrg): Step aside, Takeru Kobayashi: a black hole 12 million light-years away is “is ingesting a weight equivalent to 100 billion billion hot dogs every minute.”

    “Dark matter: Out with the WIMPs, in with the SIMPs?” (Science Magazine and PhysOrg): Now that Weakly Interacting Massive Particles appear to be figments of astronomers’ dreams (10/06/14), how about “Strongly Interacting Massive Particles”? “Like cops tracking the wrong person, physicists seeking to identify dark matter—the mysterious stuff whose gravity appears to bind the galaxies—may have been stalking the wrong particle.” Is anyone paying attention to the Keystone Cosmologists any more?

    Antimatter Imbalance: Stuff Happens (Science Daily): There should be equal amounts of matter and antimatter from a big bang, but there’s almost no antimatter found. “Something must have happened to cause extra CP violation and, thus, form the universe as we know it,” Sheldon Stone, a “Distinguished Professor,” says in a tad undistinguished manner.

    Epic Fail: maybe it wasn’t the Higgs (PhysOrg): That particle that won its discoverers a Nobel Prize may not have been the Higgs boson, a Denmark physicist says.

    The revolution devours itself (Science Daily): Dark energy is swallowing up the dark matter, astronomers claim.

    Cosmology is such an imprecise science!

    Beware how quickly we jump on the bandwagon and boast that the Bible supports the ever changing claims of cosmologists!

    We might end up with egg on our face and worse yet, egg on God’s Word.

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