What are the Problems with the Big Bang Theory?
Cosmological Constant Problems
Microwave Background Radiation Problems
Where has all the energy gone?
Limitations of Human Logic
Problems with Interpreting
Big Bang Cosmology violates fundamental scientific principles and cannot be classified as an observable event.
The Big Bang is the popularized version of evolutionary cosmology. It states that matter, energy, and space were all compressed many billions of times smaller than a proton and then exploded for some undetermined reason to create an expanding universe which continues to spread today. There are presently some 50 theories proposed by cosmologists to explain the Big Bang, all of which are nothing but mathematical models. Why so many theories? It is apparent that the verdict about what really took place is still out.
If the Big Bang is true as presented by the cosmologists, they must have scientific ground to stand on. To propose that the universe came about by a big explosion has far-reaching implications that affect every human being. For cosmic evolution to be accepted the questions below must be answered not just with speculative theory or creative mathematical formulations, but with hard empirical evidence.
1. What causes particles of matter to coalesce into heavenly bodies?
This basic question has to be answered. If the Big Bang caused matter and energy to separate and move outward at tremendous speeds, at some time that matter had to coalesce and come together. The explanation offered is that as cooling occurs; particles slow down and clump together. The problem is, however, that these celestial objects are moving at relatively high speeds away from each other. There is no empirical evidence to support the star formation theory proposed by evolutionary cosmologists. No star or galaxy has ever been seen to form in space from star gas. As the Harvard astrophysicist, Abraham Loeb stated, “The truth is that we don’t understand star formation at a fundamental level.” Abram Loeb, as cited by Marcus Chown, “Let there be Light,” New Scientist, (vol. 157, February 7, 1998) p.30
2. Can an explosion produce order?
The second law of thermodynamics, as noted above, tends to bring a system to disorder. The cosmos is not exempt from the second law. When one observes the universe, the second law is apparent everywhere. The sun is wearing down slowly; stars are burning out and even exploding. It is obvious that the second law of disorder is here to stay.
Big Bang theory contradicts the Second Law because it requires particles to organize and cohere on a cosmic scale. There is no scientific evidence for this claim. It is much like the expectation that dropping a nuclear bomb on a mountain will yield neat piles of earth rather than utter destruction. What we see in the universe is directly opposite to the expectation of evolutionary cosmologists. We observe a decaying universe whose order of complexity is in decline. Evolution Cosmology directly defies this great law of science.
3. What was before the Big Bang?
While some say that matter and energy are eternal and were always present, the question remains: Where did everything come from? Did it come from an outside source? How did it begin? Everything observed has a beginning and an end. Matter and energy are no exceptions.
4. Is expansion of the universe observable?
Red shifts – the movement of light coming from objects in space to the red end of the spectrum – are regarded as evidence for the expansion of the universe. However, there are some 50 models for the process of expansion. There is confusion and little consensus on this issue. That is not surprising. After all, one is dealing with a gigantic universe from a limited frame of reference. There are no clear answers at this time, just creative speculation. This is illustrated by cosmology’s concept for the beginning—what has been termed the “cosmic egg.” Never observed, the cosmic egg idea for the origin of the universe takes the universe backwards in time and shrinks all matter down many billions of times smaller than a single proton. The idea that all matter and energy could be collected in one place staggers the imagination, and, of course, has no empirical foundation. Yet, there are mathematical models that depict the precise fraction of a second when this took place. This is presented as scientific fact and needs to be challenged. (1)
What are the Problems with the Big Bang Theory? ................... .........................................................Back to top
The purpose of this paper is to present to the reader a foundation upon which to understand some of the basics of the Big Bang Theory. More specifically, it will be an attempt to describe in brief many of the major problems with the theory as well as define the terms used. The reader is encouraged to expand their knowledge by further reading on any particular topic. Suggested readings would include those texts quoted in this summary. One text in particular is noteworthy. William C. Michell's analysis of the Big Bang in his book Bye Bye Big Bang, Hello Reality, lists as chapter headings many of the problems we will look at further. Following is a list of some of the chapter headings mentioned:
||Cosmological Constant Problems
|| Microwave Background Radiation Problems
|| Redshift Problems
| Flatness and Missing Mass Problems
|| Quasar Problems
|Big Bang Age Problems
||Quantum Theory Problems
| Galaxy Formation Problems
|| More Quantum Problems
What is a "singularity"? The big-bang universe begins in a singularity (all matter, energy, space, and time crushed into a point of infinite density).
There is no known mechanism to start the universe expanding out of the singularity - the equations in the theory only work after the expansion has begun. (3) A singularity is considered to be a breakdown of theory. That is, it cannot be assumed that the laws of physics as we know them can apply to the event, thus presenting serious questions about it.
W.B. Bonnor (in 1960) wrote that, "a singularity in mathematics is an indication of the breakdown of a theory" that must be done away with, and Cambridge astrophysicist B. J. Carr (in 1982) said that "all known physics breaks down" in a singularity. Oxford professor of astrophysics Dennis Sciama (in 1967) declared the big-bang singularity to be "one of the botches" of the universe. (4)
Possibly the most serious aspect of the big-bang singularity, of course, is that it is the creation of all the mass and energy of the entire universe out of nothing. According to Standard big-bang theory, before the big-bang there was nothing: no space, no time, no matter, no energy. No explanation had been given for that within reasonable bounds of known physical science.
Other difficulties which need explanation:
- The dynamics of speeds greater than light that would be necessary.
- The universe as a black hole. The infinitely dense big-bang universe would initially be in exactly that state.
- A closed cycling big-bang universe which deals with the collapsing of the present universe or a previous one.
- A convergence problem for a closed cycling universe which
deals with irregularities in the distribution of matter in space.
- Violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in a closed
cycling universe, which necessitates the total entropy of the
universe decreasing from a high level to nearly zero. (5)
- The dynamics of speeds greater than light that would
- The universe as a black hole. The infinitely dense big-
bang universe would initially be in exactly that state.
- A closed cycling big-bang universe which deals with the collapsing of the present universe or a previous one.
- A convergence problem for a closed cycling universe which deals with irregularities in the distribution of matter in space.
- Violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in a closed cycling universe, which necessitates the total entropy of the universe decreasing from a high level to nearly zero. (5)
What is "smoothness"? It is generally believed by big-bang theorists that the universe is homogeneous or isotropic (the same in all directions as well as the same everywhere). In other words, when the big-bang occurred, matter spread out evenly throughout the universe.
Evidence for this uniformity comes from the Microwave Background Radiation (MBR). The MBR is believed to be the remnant of the big-bang radiation returning to us from the universe from all directions. The MBR is remarkably smooth, so smooth that for 25 years after its discovery, no variations could be detected. Increasingly precise instruments were designed and launched into space to look for variations in the MBR's intensity, because the big-bang theory said they had to be there. (6)
The major problem with using the MBR to prove the big-bang theory is the difficulty in reconciling it with the clumping of matter into galaxies, clusters of galaxies and larger features extending across vast regions of the universe, such as "walls" and "bubbles". (7) Microwave radiation coming from these clusters and non-homogeneous areas, would not be uniform. The Hubble Space Telescope has photographed the extreme edges of the visible universe. Most experts expected to see diffuse matter slowly gravitating together to form galaxies. This is what one would expect if the extremely smooth MBR was left over from the big-bang. Instead, galaxies were already "bunched together" - having formed very early in the history of the universe. (8)
It appears that using the MBR as a proof of the big-bang, is a major problem because the smoothness of radiation cannot be reconciled with the "lack of smoothness" observed in the formation of galaxies and other features. Consequently it is believed that the MBR is not a result of the big-bang and must be caused by something else. More will be said about the MBR later in this paper.
The BB "horizon" is simply the outer edge of the universe which of course is expanding.
Why is there a horizon problem? This problem is related to the MBR and its uniformity. For a homogenous radiation to occur in the universe, it is necessary for photons to be mixed a lot and thermalized, through particle collisions just as perfume emanating from a container in a room will diffuse throughout the room over time until an average homogenous or isotropic state is reached. The problem for the big-bang theory is that collisions cannot move information faster than the speed of light. In the universe that we live in, photons moving at the speed of light cannot get from one side of the universe to the other in time to account for this observed isotropy in the thermal radiation. Photons cannot travel across the universe and mix well enough with other photons to produce the uniformity of the MBR. (9) How can matter widely separated in various directions from the source interact subsequently to produce the evenness that is presently measured? Unlike the perfume illustration, the expanding universe is not a closed system.
If the radius of the big-bang universe were for example, 15 billion light years (BLYs), two regions at the edge of space are thus 30 BLYs apart. But because the universe is only 15 BLYs old, it is impossible for those two regions to ever have been in contact with each other. (10)
What is meant by "flatness"? Flatness has to do with the shape of the cosmos. The large scale geometry of the universe is governed by Einstein's General Theory of Relativity. Einstein showed that gravity curves three-dimensional space, and that space in turn moves matter. For the universe as a whole, the shape of the curvature depends on the average density of the matter. Omega is the term used to describe the ratio of the average density to the critical density. If Omega is exactly one - that is, if the average density of the universe is equal to the critical density - then the universe will expand to a maximum density and remain there for eternity. The universe is flat; it has zero curvature. (11)
Our universe is apparently flat. That is, it appears to have just the "right" density - or nearly so- to continue its slow expansion forever. To make the standard big-bang theory correspond to reality, cosmologists had to make the assumption that the average density of the universe was equal to the density immediately following the BB. That density would be remarkably high. It's not clear how an enormously fast rate of expansion might result in an average density at this critical level. The low observed density of the universe now represents an especially severe problem to inflation theory. This assumption, like the isotropy assumption, isn't explained. Since an Omega of one corresponds to a flat universe, this is known as "The Flatness Problem." There is a disconnect between what "should be" - a dense universe, - and what is "observable", - a much lesser density than should be.
Inflation comes to the rescue. Inflation's rapid expansion caused space to become flatter, forcing omega toward one, no matter what its initial value. Even if the pre-inflation universe were curved like a sphere (corresponding to Omega less than 1) or hyperbolic (Omega greater than 1), that tremendous burst of expansion forced the scale of any curvature to flatness. Although the estimated values of Omega hover around one, the range implies a lot of uncertainty about the average density of the universe. Part of the problem lies in the fact that we can only see a mere 5-10% of the matter that's thought to comprise the cosmos. The rest is mysterious "dark matter" whose presence is inferred from the gravitational motions of galaxies. We just don't know how much dark matter is out there. (12) Assumed dark matter is supposed to account for the density we can't see or measure.
Big Bang Age Problems
The simplest way to calculate the age of the universe, within the big-bang world view, is to wind its expansion back to zero. This is called the "Hubble age" because it is the inverse of the Hubble expansion constant. The best current estimate is 15 billion years.
However, there are some profound anomalies within the big-bang time scale. Galaxies are largely found in a cluster - and clusters of clusters, called "super-clusters." Some clusters contain as many as a thousand galaxies. Space is supposed to have expanded enormously since the galaxies were first formed, yet these galaxies are still grouped together. The only "glue" available to bind them together is gravity. Yet when the speeds and masses within individual galaxies are calculated, it frequently turns out that they are moving much too fast too be held together by gravity. The clusters should have ceased to exist long ago. (13)
A second problem involves the time it takes for form galaxies. There may not have been time for the formation of observed gigantic galactic configurations. The time required for those to form (due to gravity) in accordance with big-bang theory has been estimated to be on the order of 100 billion years. Proponents of this time period include Paul Steinhardt, who is quoted (in 1991) as saying that, "There wasn't enough time in the history of the universe for gravity to pull together these structures," and astrophysicist Edwin Turner said that, "We're starting to find that we just don't have enough time to get the Universe from an early state to the one we're seeing now." (14)
Other reports indicate that some quasars were formed within a few hundred million years after the big-bang. Their red shifts indicate a speed equivalent to 94-95% of the speed of light which places their formation early after the big-bang. (15) So we end up with quasars and galaxies forming too quickly for the BB theorists.
Galaxy Formation Problems
The problem of galaxy formation lies in the idea that most cosmologists believe the big-bang universe began as a smooth distribution of matter, and now appears to have become clumpy with galaxies, super-galaxies, voids, clusters, walls, and sheets of galaxies etc. The question is how?
Random non-uniformities (disruptions in the smoothness) in the expanding universe are not sufficient to allow the formation of galaxies. In the presence of the rapid expansion, up to the speed of light or faster, the gravitational attraction is too slow for galaxies to form with any reasonable model of turbulence created by the expansion itself. The question of how the large-scale structure of the universe could have come into being has been a major unsolved problem in cosmology. (16)
A solution to this problem has been proposed using the concept of Cold Dark Matter. Proponents believe if the dark matter is made up of exotic particles that are neither protons nor neutrons, but much heavier then at the time the universe was 300,000 years old, the gathering in of exotic matter could provide a mechanism for ordinary matter to grow more quickly. This dark matter (of unknown nature) would provide the "seeds" that were necessary to start the process of galaxy formation. Hence 15 billion years may have been long enough for the structures such as galaxies to form.
The scenario has achieved great success in explaining galaxy formation; in fact, it has been the most popular model. However, detailed study has revealed that the model suffers several serious drawbacks; for instance, it can explain galaxy distributions on either large scale (hundred of millions of light years) or small scale (several millions of light years) but not on both. (17) Quoting Corey S. Powell in Scientific American, 1992, "Some cosmological models incorporating cold dark matter can account for the existence of large clusters and super clusters of galaxies. Other models can explain the formation of individual galaxies. None can do both. The physicists have been enormously reluctant to accept what astronomy shows them,' says Arno Penzias, who argues in favor of a less dense universe containing only ordinary matter. 'Cold dark matter is dead.' Peebles agrees.'" (18) The question of galaxy formation is still an open question, and may be the biggest challenge faced by cosmologists today. Essentially, there is no explanation for the formation of galaxies.
Cosmological Constant Problems
What is the "cosmological constant"? When Einstein first developed his theories of relativity he believed, that the universe was static (neither expanding nor collapsing). A different solution to Einstein's equations by Alexander Friedmann seemed to indicate that the universe exists in a dynamic form - either expanding or collapsing. To return the universe to its "proper" static form, Einstein fudged the mathematics by adding a "cosmological constant." (19)
This modification of his theory to achieve a stationary universe was abandoned by him, but lately others have tried to revive it. Meanwhile, Edwin Hubble, using a spectroscope determined that light coming from most galaxies was red-shifted. This means, by definition of the Doppler Effect, that these galaxies are moving away from us; expansion had been proven.
A brief description of the Doppler Effect is light coming from an object either moving away or towards an observer is shifted to a longer or shorter wavelength. Objects moving away are red-shifted (appear red), and objects moving towards you are blue-shifted (appear blue).
Hubble did indeed demonstrate that galaxies moving away from us were red-shifted and were receding at incredible speeds never imagined before, and the farthermost galaxies were receding even faster than the closer ones.
Einstein was unaware of Hubble's expansion, and Hubble was unaware of Einstein's fudge. Sometime later Einstein learned of Hubble's discovery, and immediately accepted it, discarding his "cosmological constant". (20)
However, to this day the cosmological constant has not gone away. The value of the constant has become dramatically smaller - and if asked, most cosmologists would likely have it disappear. Its very minuteness is now a problem bigger than any other in modern cosmology.
What's the problem? When astronomers add up all the visible matter and energy in the universe it comes to very much less than the critical value (a value determined mathematically - not by observation). Not all matter emits light, so it is believed that there is some "dark matter" in the universe. There may also be some "dark energy". The modern cosmological constant is related to this dark energy. (21)
We speak of the vacuum of space. When looking at the universe we come up with a huge amount of "nothing" (or what appears to be nothing). However, the latest measurements indicate that the vacuum energy (energy in the nothingness), may contribute between 60 and 70 percent of the total; total being the total matter and energy in the universe. Our problem is that the theoretical estimates suggest that the value should be quite large, while the observational evidence indicates that the value is very small. (22) Cosmologists want to hang on to theoretical estimates, rather than deal with real observable evidence.
In May 1988, Professor Steven Weinberg gave the Morris Loeb Lectures in Physics at Harvard University under the title "The Cosmological Constant Problem." He stated: "The discrepancy between the observed and predicted values for the energy density of the vacuum is greater than 118 orders of magnitude." Weinberg referred his readers to a non-mathematical article in Scientific American by Larry Abbott, "The Mystery of the Cosmological Constant," Scientific American, 258(5):82-88 (May 1988). The article said:
The stupendous failure we have experienced in trying to predict the value of the cosmological constant is far more than a mere embarrassment … Clearly our assumptions are spectacularly wrong. There must in fact be a miraculous conspiracy occurring among both the known and the unknown parameters governing particle physics … the small value of the cosmological constant is telling us that a remarkably precise and totally unexpected relationship exists among all the parameters of the standard model, the bare cosmological constant and unknown physics … the mysterious relation implied by the vanishing small value of the cosmological constant indicates that dramatic and revolutionary new discoveries … remain to be made. (23)
If the reader recalls the "flat universe" problem, there is a connection between the flat universe and the cosmological constant. In order to be flat, the cosmological constant needs to be "zero". The question is one of fine-tuning: fine-tuning of the cosmological constant by 118 orders of magnitude, or the fine-tuning of the flatness problem of perhaps only 60 orders of magnitude. Fine-tuning in this sense is stretching the limits well beyond reason. Each time you have 1 order of magnitude you multiply by 10. Taking the number "10" up 3 orders of magnitude would change it to 1000; 4 orders, 10,000.
By inspection, the universe is looking flatter, and the energy density due to the cosmological constant is now statistically well above zero. (24) Cosmologists continue to face dilemma after dilemma. Nothing appears to be what it should be and what 'should be' is itself, far from certain.
Red shift Problems
What is a red shift? Edwin Hubble in the late 1920s determined that light from galaxies was shifted towards the red. A shifting of light in this way means the wavelength has increased in length and appears to be red. Also, it means that an object, such as a galaxy, is moving away from us. A lowering of pitch can be experienced when a fire-engine passes you. As the vehicle moves past, the sound waves are stretched out, and these sound waves are heard at lower frequencies. This experience is known as the Doppler Effect.
Hubble found that a red shift was closely proportional to the distance to the galaxy; a relationship which became known as Hubble's law. This law was used to provide evidence that the universe was expanding. BB theorists often call a red shift a Doppler shift. The general theory however describes the red shift being caused, not by galaxies moving through space, but by an expansion of space itself. Expansion of matter in the universe is subject to serious question, but much more so is the expansion of space.
The astronomer Halton Arp (25) has observe many pairs of galaxies that seem to be very close to each other, even physically connected, yet have greatly differing red shifts. This suggests that at least some of the red shifts have a cause other than motion. If some red shifts have a non-motion cause it is possible that most have such a cause, leaving us with a static universe. A static universe is one which is not expanding. (26)
Hubble's red-shift distance was based on an analysis of only a few dozen galaxies. Newer, much more complete, statistical analysis of thousands of galaxies, depart significantly from Hubble's linear law. Studies by I.E. Segal find that a quadratic relation, where the red shift varies as the square of the distance, gives a much better fit. This contradicts BB expansion and supports a static cosmology. (27)
Could the red shift have some other, non-velocity cause? Other theories involve what is called "tired light", or energy lost as light traveled through space, or a "gravitational red shift"; a condition resulting from gravity effects on energy coming from galaxies. John Byl in his book, God and Cosmos, lists twenty non-velocity red-shift mechanisms. (28)
According to Mitchell, "tired light" theories have been advanced by a number of theorists. They believe in the presence of what they call an "ether"; matter; forces, or fields which in some manner cause red shifting. Some tired light advocates have claimed that all red shifting is due to tired light phenomena. However, they would be hard pressed to provide a satisfactory explanation for some astronomical observations, such as blue shifts of radiation from some stars within our galaxy, indicating that they are moving towards us at high velocity. (29)
Another problem is raised by Lerner. Red shifts indicate how fast an object is moving away from us. Red shifts increase with distance, but also with an object's own speed, relative to the objects around it. It turns out that galaxies almost never move much faster than a thousand kilometers per second, about one-three-hundredth as fast as the speed of light. Thus, in the (at most) twenty billions years since the BB, a galaxy, or the matter that would make up a galaxy, could have moved only about sixty-five million light-years. But if you start out with matter spread smoothly through space, and if you can move it only sixty-five million light-years, you can't build up objects as vast and dense as Tully's complexes. (30) Tully's complexes are vast clusters of stars, each one made up of dozens of super-cluster filaments containing millions of trillions of stars. The density within the ribbon is about twenty-five times that outside them. (31)
From the above we can see that the red shift problem is far from being solved. There is no doubt red shifting takes place, but we are far from determining how it is caused. Is our universe expanding, static, or in a state we have yet to determine? Scientists can spend their entire lives studying these things, to find in the end after many years, that their theory and their work must be abandoned. What a waste to be traveling this road that leads nowhere.
What is a quasar? When radio telescopes were first turned on the heavens, point sources of radio waves were discovered. Astronomers then turned visible-light telescopes toward these radio points to see what was there. Various objects were seen from the remnants of supernova, a star-birth region, and distant galaxies. In some instances only a point of light was seen, similar to what a star would look like. These objects were called "quasi-stellar radio sources", or quasars. These objects could not be stars because they were too far away, well beyond any of the galaxies that were known. It is believed that quasars are the very bright centers of galaxies that are unseen, where some sort of energetic action is occurring, due possibly, to the presence of a supermassive black hole at the center. The spectrum of quasars are unusual. At first their absorption lines could not be identified. In 1963 Maarten Schmidt discovered that the absorption lines in the spectrum of quasar 3C273 were common ones, but shifted toward the red end of the spectrum by an extraordinary amount. Many quasars since then have been found having these large red shifts. (32)
Red shifts caused by the expansion of the universe are called cosmological red shifts. If the red shifts of quasars are cosmological, quasars are the farthest objects ever observed in the telescope. Furthermore, if quasars can be observed over such distances, their energy output must be enormous. (33)
Inconsistencies regarding the current interpretation of observed red shift present problems the BB Theory. Red shift data as presently used shows quasars to be "clumped" at great distances. According to the BB Theory, that would require the formation of large numbers of quasars too soon after the BB. That interpretation of data also results in the anomaly of quasars at various distances, and thus of various ages, that are observed to have similar electromagnetic spectrums. (34)
But perhaps even in greater conflict with BB Theory, the clumping of distant quasars in all directions would appear to put us at the center of the universe. This situation, known as the Copernican Problem, is in direct conflict with the basic BB Theory tenet of smoothness. (35)
There are problems related to the cause of red shifting. Observational evidence indicates that the presently accepted interpretation of red shift data is to some degree erroneous. Observations over many years by highly regarded astronomers have shown many "companion galaxies" to have considerably higher red shifts than those of unmistakably neighboring galaxies. Most notable among those astronomers is Halton Arp, who has also provided considerable evidence that radiation from newly formed galaxies is in some manner red shifted by other than Doppler Effect. (36) Considering other interpretations, quasars might be found to be much closer and their velocity much lower, thus solving the perception of excessive brilliance, mass, density, and other problems. Hubble himself was not convinced that red shift was exclusively due to Doppler Effect. (37)
A super-massive black hole at the center of a galaxy is thought to provide the tremendous energy for a quasar. However, a recent report at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society indicates that only four out of the 15 quasars surveyed by the Hubble Space Telescope are associated with galaxies. (38)
A team of astronomers/astrophysicists, including Geoffrey Burbidge and Halton Arp, published the discovery of a new quasar in the Astrophysical Journal. This quasar is embedded in the galaxy NGC7319 close to its center. The question to be asked is 'Can a "Distant" Quasar Lie within a nearby Galaxy?' (39)
According to the Hubble law, the galaxy NGC7319, with a red shift of 0.022, is about 360 million light-years from Earth. But since the quasar has a hundred times the galaxy's red shift, it must be receding about a 100 times faster and be 30 times farther away. Arp has made a strong case that quasars that lie close to active galaxies are physically associated with those galaxies. He and others contend that the quasars have been ejected from the hearts of their parent galaxies. (40) BB theorists have a problem with these observations because they challenge their initial beliefs regarding how matter in the BB was first formed as well as their perception of distances and red shifting. We will likely find in the future, that present observations, such as noted by Halton Arp or Burbidge and others, struggling to understand the universe, will also be challenged by newer observations. Such is the plight of science today, forever shifting, adjusting, reinterpreting, and even starting over with new theories.
Quantum Theory Problems
What is the quantum theory? Quantum theory is concerned with the emission and absorption of energy by matter and with the motion of material particles; the quantum theory and the theory of relativity together form the theoretical basis of modern physics. The theory of relativity is important when large speeds are involved, so the quantum theory is necessary for the special situation where very small quantities are involved such as on the scale of molecules, atoms, and elementary particles. Aspects of the quantum theory have provoked vigorous philosophical debates concerning, for example, the uncertainty principle and the statistical nature of all the predictions of the theory.
According to the quantum theory, energy is held to be emitted and absorbed in tiny, discrete amounts. An individual bundle or packet of energy, called a quantum, behaves in some situations much like particles of matter and at other times like a wave. (41) Another area that will be discussed in this section which will be necessary in understanding the BB is matter and antimatter.
What is antimatter? In 1930 Paul Dirac formulated a quantum theory for the motion of electrons in electric and magnetic fields. The equations that describe this required the existence of another type of particle, having exactly the same mass as the electron, but with a positive instead of negative electric charge. This particle, which is called the positron, is the antiparticle of the electron, and it was the first example of antimatter. Antimatter has been created in a laboratory, but has not been seen anywhere else.
Every particle comprising matter must have a corresponding antiparticle type. All the properties, such as mass, are identical with the exception that all signs of all charges are reversed. (42) If there were a distant galaxy made out of antimatter, you couldn't distinguish it from a matter galaxy just by seeing the light from it.
What is the problem with the BB theory in regards to quantum theory? Quantum theorists believe that the amount of matter in the universe should be equal to the amount of antimatter. However, observations indicate that there is more matter than antimatter. So, what happened?
Ten billionths of a second after the BB, the entire universe would have fit into your living room. Inside, energy and matter were completely exchangeable - the temperature was billions of degrees. New particles and antiparticles were created and then annihilated back into energy. At this time there should have been equal amounts of matter and antimatter, but somehow the symmetry had been broken and matter won out. Where the antimatter went we don't know. However, the remaining matter surplus gave rise (according to evolution,) to stars, planets etc.
Williams explains this as follows:
This has profound and unwelcome implications for big-bang theory, because our universe is made of ordinary matter, not equal amounts of matter and antimatter. The only known way that matter can form from energy is via quantum pair production, and quantum pair production yields equal amounts of matter and antimatter. Since our universe consists only of matter (as far as we can tell - it is a reasonable conclusion that our universe could not have been produced by quantum pair productions. (43)
Hawking proposed a solution to this problem with his concept of billions of small black holes resulting from the BB. As the matter of the early universe collapsed to form these black holes, he has suggested that, unequal amounts of matter and antimatter were caught in the gravitational clutches of each of them. Unequal amounts of matter and antimatter would then have disappeared into each hole. (44) This is an excellent example of adding theory to theory, or assumptions on top of assumptions. More accurately, cosmologists are adding guesses to guesses.
Mentioned earlier was the fact that there are many uncertainties regarding the quantum theory. Einstein himself was reluctant to accept it. (45) Even the philosophy of Niels Bohr, a key figure in the development of quantum theory was there some doubt. His opinion was that there isn't really a quantum world, virtually all knowledge is provisional, and quantum theory only provides an interim means of describing the behavior of the fundamental particles of nature. (46)
Quantum theory seems to have some applications to the micro-universe on Earth, but lacks the crossover ability to transcend into the macro-universe world of space.
More Quantum Theory Problems
Nigel Brush, in his book "The Limitations of Scientific Truth" sheds considerable light on problems with the quantum theory. Following is a selection of his thoughts on this subject. Einstein's theory of relativity undercut the placid assumption that the world is as we see it. He showed that even such fundamental concepts as length, mass, and time are not absolute - they change under the influence of acceleration or gravity. Because of the relativity of time, there can be no "one moment of time" for the entire universe. Relativity thus imposes severe spatial limitations on what scientists can do or know. Planck's quantum mechanics gave a very different picture of reality, a reality best described as "quantum weirdness," where uncertainty, rather than certainty, is the ruling principle. When an electron absorbs a quantum of energy, it doesn't simply move across the space from one orbit to another orbit. Instead, the electron exists either in one shell or another but is never in transition between two shells. The logic of moving from point A to point B across the intervening space is defied. The basic rules of cause and effect that govern events in the macro-world apparently do not apply in micro-world. Instead, things moved in a disjointed or discontinuous manner. They "jumped" from one place to another, seemingly without effort and without bothering to go between the two places. (47)
Causes of Quantum Uncertainty - The Micro-universe
Electrons sometimes behave in two ways; sometimes as particles and sometimes as waves. When attempting to determine the exact position of an electron, the focus is on the particle aspect of the electron; when attempting to determine its momentum, the focus is on its wave aspect. Consequently, the exact position of the electron can be determined only when it is treated as a particle; the exact momentum of an electron can be determined only when it is treated as a wave.
Quantum theory takes away the certainty that scientists cannot hope to discover the "real" world in infinite detail, not because there is any limit to their intellectual ingenuity or technical expertise, nor even because there are laws of physics preventing the attainment of perfect knowledge. The basis of quantum theory is more revolutionary yet: it asserts that perfect objective knowledge of the world cannot be had because there is no objective world. (48)
The special-relativity rule that nothing can be accelerated to a velocity greater than that of light does not apply to galaxies in an expanding universe. That rule is true in static space, but expanding cosmic space can carry galaxies away from one another at velocities greater than that of light. (49)
The Hubble radius suggests that there might be a limit to what astronomers can learn about the physical universe. Hubble found that the farther away a galaxy is from the earth, the faster it is receding due to the expansion of space. Some galaxies are moving away from us at speeds representing a significant percentage of the speed of light. If the Hubble constant remains valid, we will reach a point in our observations at which galaxies are so distant that they are receding at the speed of light or even faster. This point will denote the edge of the observable universe. Beyond the Hubble radius, myriad other galaxies may well exist, but astronomers will never be able to see them because they are receding from earth faster than their light is traveling toward earth. If so, scientific knowledge of the universe will forever be limited to the "visible" portion of the universe within the Hubble radius. Thus, in the macro-universe - as in the micro-universe - there are severe spatial limitations to how much scientists can learn about nature. (50)
Modern physics therefore is dominated by two theories that arose in the early part of the twentieth century: quantum mechanics and relativity. One theory explains the micro-world of atoms and subatomic particles; the other theory explains the macro-world of stars and galaxies. Obvious questions arise. Why should physicists need two different theories to explain one universe? Why should stars and galaxies be governed by different laws than electrons and atoms?
If physicists try to imagine the universe collapsing back into its initial state at the beginning of the big bang, they run into problems. In a collapsing universe, general relativity predicts that gravity will eventually compress all of the matter in the universe into a singularity. As the universe shrinks we pass a certain point we enter the realm governed by quantum mechanics, not relativity. In order to discuss the beginning of the universe, we need a theory that combines general relativity with quantum mechanics. Attempts to merge the two theories, and the forces involved has been described as trying to mix fire and water. (51)
Microwave Background Radiation Problems .......................................................................................Back to top
What is Microwave Background Radiation (MBR)? Our universe according to the BB theory, began with what George Gamow called the "primeval fireball." During the first second of existence, the universe went through various changes. Over several thousand years, matter changed as space expanded and cooled. The universe remained too hot for electromagnetic forces to take hold and bond electrons to their parent nuclei. This continued for approximately three to four hundred thousand years after the BB, so the theory goes, until electrons were captured by the nuclei to form neutral atomic structures. At this time, light took the form of ultra-high-energy gamma rays. After some fourteen billion years these once intense gamma rays; has now been stretched or red-shifted, by a factor of a thousand to produce what we observe today as Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation.
This radiation has a heat signature. Gamow, along with Ralph Alper and Robert Hermon, attempted to calculate the temperature of this leftover heat. These early calculations came out on the high side due to the level of technology at the time. Nevertheless, by measuring a temperature in the universe, the work was considered monumental.
Around twenty years later, Robert Dicke, a Princeton astronomer known for building good antennas, and P.J.E. Peebles, an astrophysicist, were making progress in measuring the temperature more accurately. At nearly the same time, there were two engineers working for Bell Laboratories, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, were building antennas to communicate with orbiting satellites. They ran into problems with a constant static that interfered with their work. After eliminating technical problems, they looked to the sky for answers. No matter which way they pointed their antennas, the signal was the same leading to the conclusion that this radiation was coming from outside the atmosphere. It became apparent that the radiation was coming from outside the solar system and even perhaps from outside the galaxy. This radiation was extremely uniform, having variations of less than one part in 10,000.
In 1965 Penzias and Wilson heard about the Princeton project and met with Dicke and Peebles. In 1978, the two men Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize for discovering the energy that saturates everything in existence notably the Microwave Background Radiation.
Microwave radiation is believed to have originated sometime in the range of 100,000 to one million years after the BB. It was called by George Gamow in 1954, the "great event" - a time when matter took over from radiation. The universe was "radiation dominated" before decoupling and "matter dominated" after it. At that point the previously opaque universe became clear, and radiation is said to have traveled un-scattered through space to become the MBR received today. So what are the problems? It is far from a proven fact, that this radiation measured today arose from this event, whether the event took place at all, or the radiation comes from some other source entirely. (52)
The COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite was put into orbit. Its purpose was to measure more accurately the temperature of the MBR. Each wavelength of light has what is called a blackbody temperature. A blackbody is a theoretical, hypothetical body that absorbs all radiation falling on it. When heated it emits radiation at characteristic energies or wavelengths that correspond to its temperature alone. From this, the average temperature of the MBR was established as being 2.7 degrees Kelvin.
Is there a temperature problem associated with the MBR?
The MBR is considered by many to be the most important evidence in support of the BB theory. However the 2.7 degree K. temperature is in disagreement with predictions made by various BB theorists. Predictions vary over a range of 5 to 50 K. Some BB cosmologist's predictions of MBR temperature have been "adjusted" after-the-fact to agree with observed temperatures. (53)
Kragh has said that Dicke had predicted an MBR temperature of about 20 K in 1946 and had re-estimated that to be 40 K in the 1960's. Others include Stephen G. Brush who has stated that Dicke had estimated "less than 20 K" in 1946 but, later on, revised that to 45 K. As already stated, Gamow predicted a temperature of about 50 K, but in 1948 his students Alpher and Herman re-estimated Gamow's prediction to 5 K. A year later they changed their prediction to 28 K. (54)
When is the next prediction coming? We seem to think that we have always reached the "state of the art" ability to understand the truth about things at our particular time in history. Ten years from now, we will look back and see that we were wrong about so many things "scientific". Why are we so sure about our understanding today, regarding scientific things, when we know that history demonstrates that most of what we "know now" is rubbish? When it comes to the universe, our knowledge is considerably hindered because it is "out there" and we are "not out there" and our technology is still primitive, at least primitive in respects to what it will be fifty years from now. What arrogance we have to be so sure about what we know so little about. How many intelligent men and women (seemingly more men), devote their lives, and careers to something that is more likely to be wrong than right as time passes by. This arrogance is even compounded by the fact that scientific endeavors are limited to naturalistic belief criteria. What if there really is a God. Whoops, sorry about that.
Where has all the energy gone? ................... ... .............. ................... ............ ...................................Back to top
According to Michell, MBR photons from the decoupling are said to have cooled by a factor of about 1,000 from 3,000 K to about 3 K. These photons have lost 99.9 percent of their original energy, which is almost twice the equivalent energy of the present observable universe. The question arises, "What happened to that enormous amount of energy?" The only answers to that question received from a BB source, "that it disappears into the 'fine structure of space' (whatever that means) and eventually reappears in the structures of atoms." (55)
I can see that if one loses a few percentage points in the variability of a measurement, it might be acceptable, considering our "primitive" way of measuring things. However, not being able to account for 99.9 percent of it, is essentially admitting you don't know where any of it went - assuming of course the original temperature was as stated, and assuming there was a decoupling, and assuming that the radiation being measured is coming from the MBR, and assuming there was a BB to begin with etc. Is there a Guiness record for the number of assumptions one can link together. I assume there might be.
Could there be a galaxy formation problem related to the MBR?
Secondly, there are large irregularities in the formation of galaxies, which might be expected to cause fairly large directional variations of the MBR. (56) The directional uniformity of the MBR cannot be reconciled with the observed non-uniformities of matter distribution in the universe. As radiation moved through space these non-uniformities would alter the radiation by absorption and reemission. Scattering would take place and movement towards us would be variable. Microwave radiation measurements should be non-uniform by the time they reach earth. (57)
Since the MBR is said to be "too perfect", provides evidence which rules out any way of forming the large scale structures in the universe from the BB. The structures could not have formed before the time of the BB either. Any concentration of matter present at that time would show up as hotter and brighter spots in the intensity of the background radiation. Fluctuations at least a thousand times larger should have been observed. This "perfection" makes it impossible for the theory to explain how today's' clumpy universe could have come to be. (58)
Something is amiss here. Perhaps another assumption is needed to explain this problem. We are really not sure where this radiation is coming from. Scientists are proposing other alternatives for its origin. Of course we can be sure that these new theories are more accurate than the previous ones. The mental gymnastics are fine but should we be paying these people big salaries to continue dreaming up new theories? Should we be telling our young people that the universe is 15 billions of years old without them having been taught the limitations associated with these figures? Shouldn't our youth be provided with some insight into what is verifiable - the simple fact that these scientists really have no clue as to what is going on out there or how it all got started in the first place? Can the MBR be accounted for by other processes?
In 1926 Sir Arthur Eddington argued that because everything is constantly bathed in distant starlight, interstellar space would have a black body temperature of about 3 degrees K. Could it be in fact, that this temperature is not caused by the MBR at all? Is it the natural temperature of the universe?
Weaknesses in the understanding of the MBR add to the surmounting evidence that BB'ers have little idea what happened at anytime in the past - when it happened, how it happened, or if it happened. Technology is improving, but still is limited in measuring what exists out there and identifying what it is doing. So much speculation, assumptions, theories based on other theories and assumptions leave us at odds as to what to believe and what is the truth.
More Chronology Problems.
Is our universe at 15 billions of years of age, too young? Well, it depends on how you look at it. If you are a BB'r, it's just right. However, what are observations telling us? First, let us look at the most accepted way of measuring the age of the universe. As described earlier, as objects move away from us they become red-shifted. The amount of red-shift can provide some evidence of the velocity and distance objects are in space and thus how long their activity has progressed through time.
Edwin Hubble was born in Missouri, attended the University of Chicago, went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and received a PhD degree at the University of Chicago. Much of his work was done in the 1920's and 1930's. In Hubble's day measurements of red-shifts was not an easy task, nor is it much easier today. Based on the assumption of Doppler red-shift, the Hubble constant can be determined. This constant is expressed as velocity as a function of distance in units of either kilometers per second per megaparsec (km/sec/Mpc), or in units of kilometers per second per million light year (km/sec/MLYs). A megaparsec is a million parsecs. One parsec equals 3.26 light years, or the distance light will travel in a year.
Before we look at the Hubble constant, which is used to measure the age of the universe, we need to understand that the Hubble constant is "not constant". How is that for a good start? Anyway, the exact value of the constant has not been established. Early estimates were as high as several hundred km/sec/Mpc. Today, "according to improved methods, good for today only," have narrowed that down to the range of 50 to 80 km/sec/Mpc, or roughly 15 to 25 km/sec/MLYs. Also, only for a fixed-rate universe would the Hubble constant be constant "or at least as constant as scientists wish it to be constant." (59)
Based upon this Hubble constant, we have a universe that is measured around 15 to 20 billions of years. According to Lerner, some crucial observations have flatly contradicted the assumptions and predictions of the BB. Because the BB supposedly occurred only about twenty billion years ago, nothing in the cosmos can be older than this. Yet in 1986 astronomers discovered that galaxies compose huge agglomerations a billion light-years across; such mammoth clustering's of matter must have taken a hundred billion years to form. (60)
Let us take a further look at some of these large agglomerations that exist in the universe. It may take only a few million years to form stars according to star formation theorists. For galaxies to form, perhaps one or two billion years are needed. Clusters take even longer. When we arrive at supercluster formation we begin to run into problems. Tully's objects begin to boggle the mind. What are Tully's objects? These are superclusters that are so huge, it would have taken around eighty billion years to have formed; four or five times longer than the present estimate of the big bang.
How is this determined? Astronomers can measure velocity and distance with red-shifting. Galaxies never move much faster than a thousand kilometers per second. Since the beginning of the BB, a galaxy could have moved only about sixty-five million light years. If you start out with matter spread evenly through space, you can't build up objects as vast and dense as Tully's objects based on that time period. Matter would have had to move much further than sixty-five million light-years - more like 270 million light-years. (61)
Furthermore, according to Lerner in an internet article, in 1989 the work of Margaret J. Geller and John P. Huchra of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who mapped all galaxies within about six hundred million light-years of earth, announced their latest results, revealing what they called the "Great Wall," a huge sheet of galaxies stretching in every direction off the region mapped. The sheet, more than two hundred million light-years across and seven hundred million light-years long, but only about twenty million light-years thick, coincides exactly with the supercluster complex mapped by Tully. (62)
Still Larger structures were uncovered by an international team of American, British, and Hungarian observers including David Koo of Lick Observatory and T.J. Broadhurst of the University of Durham, in England. These objects appear to have taken at least 150 billion years to form, which is seven to ten times the number of years since the BB allegedly took place. (63)
So, it would appear that the universe may be too young. Can the universe be younger than its galaxies? BB theorists are set on the universe being young, but evidence appears to make the universe much older. On the other hand, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope to see farther than ever before have said that, "even at early times there already were galaxies with huge families of stars," and astronomer Marcia Bartusiak has agreed, saying, "This seems to suggest that the major galactic components were in place within a couple of billions of years after the Big Bang." (64)
One group says we need more time; another group says we have enough. How can we tell who is right? Who knows how long it takes for a galaxy to form, let alone a supercluster? Are we measuring the speed of galaxies correctly? Has their speed changed over time? Were they faster at some time in the past, and have slowed down? The speculative nature of all our present observations is but guesswork. Even our application of mathematical formulas to try and rein in some measure of truth in these areas is suspect. We already know that math and physics applied to earthly domains, is not fully applicable to domains in outer space. Time references are relative as well as what happens to objects as they increase in speed.
Other theories explain some aspects of what is observed better than the big bang. All theories have serious limitations. Also, every scientist has his or her own biases. If you have spent thirty years promoting one theory, how likely are you to change and promote another; particularly when your theory sounds as good as the next one? One thing we do know about all this; is that we don't know.
Limitations of Human Logic ..................................................................................................................Back to top
- Problems of Logic
- What can we know, and how can we know it?
- Human limitations that are inherent and other limitations that are self imposed.
From William C. Mitchell Bye Bye Big Bang p. 254, those who reject the many errors of present day cosmology, that is based on theoretical innovation that lacks the support of experimental data, have some very good company.
Willam MacMillan, believed the universe to be Newtonian and rejected Einstein's relativity as outside of common sense, said (in 1927), "The exclusive use of mathematics is a dangerous thing," and Arthur Eddington wrote (in 1928), "As a scientist I simply do not believe that the Universe began with a bang." Astronomer and physicist, and president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 1951 to 1953, Herbert Dingle (in 1961) declared that mathematical physicist, "have simply lost the power of understanding of what they are doing…(and) have substituted mathematics for reasoning."
BB cosmologist Michael Rowan-Robertson admitted in his university text (in 1977), Cosmology, "most of the models of the universe described in this (his) book are based on general relativity, which cannot be said to rest on a very solid experimental basis."
British astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote (in 1982) concerning cosmology, "Over the past seventeen years astronomers and physicists the world over have made numerous investigations with the outcome essentially nil. It has been a fruitless churning of mathematical symbols, exactly the hallmark of an incorrect theory."
According to Lerner, the BB fails scientifically because it seeks to derive the present historically formed universe from a hypothetical perfection in the past. All the contradictions with observation stem from this fundamental flaw. According to Alfven "I have always believed that astrophysics should be the extrapolation of laboratory physics, that we must begin from the present universe and work our way backward to progressively more remote and uncertain epochs." (65) Mitchell, makes the simple statement; "the scientific method goes out the window".
It can be seen that BB cosmology does not begin with observations but with assumptions. Mathematical equations are then postulated to try and account for the assumptions. When observations do not line up with the equations, rather than throw the theory out, new concepts are added to the previous assumptions and new equations are devised to try and account for the new concepts. What we end up with is a lot of mathematics having its foundations in nothing but "guesses" at something that is not able to be seen or measured in reality. Mathematics can describe some aspects of nature, but has its limitations in regard to the true reality behind appearances. Anyone can dream a dream, create a reality in their minds, throw in some equations, and presto, announce to the world that this is how everything came to be. This is the present day state of cosmological understanding. Is it a house of cards ready to collapse?
Nigel Brush has written a book entitled The Limitations of Scientific Truth - P. Kregel Publications 2005 relates the following section includes substantial quotes from his book. Limitations of Mathematics in the search for absolute truth.
One would, perhaps believe, that anything (such as a scientific theorem) that could be proven mathematically would be the purest form of truth, due in part to the accuracy of mathematics itself. However there are weak links in mathematical methodology and processes. These weak links were first discovered by the Austrian mathematician Kurt Godel (1906-1977). If mathematics was to be the final arbiter of scientific truth, Godel and other scientists wanted to prove that mathematical systems are themselves "complete" - that is, every true statement of number theory can be derived from within the system itself - and "consistent" - that is, mathematical statements contain no contradictions. (66)
Godel made the startling discovery that all formal mathematical systems are both incomplete-- in that mathematics would not be able to prove all possible truths - and inconsistent - in that, mathematical theories could not even prove themselves. In 1931, Godel published his findings in a seminal paper on the consistency and completeness of mathematics titled "On Formally Un-decidable Propositions of Principia Mathematica and Related Systems I." What Godel's First Incompleteness Theorem did was to show that all mathematical systems are incomplete because they are unable to encompass every possible truth. In other words, some things exist that we absolutely know to be true but cannot prove through the use of any mathematical system.
Godel was also able to show that all mathematical systems are inconsistent in that they contain contradictions. By substituting the idea of "proof" for "truth", Godel was able to introduce into mathematics the famous Epimenides Paradox. Epimenides was a sixth-century B.C. poet from Crete who made the paradoxical statement, "All Cretans are liars." The Epimenides Paradox forever trapped philosophers in a strange loop because they could never determine whether Epimenides' statement, was true or false. Epimendes was a Cretan, so he must be lying. If he was lying, however the statement "All Cretans are liars," must be true. Godel took the core out of the Epimenides Paradox - "This statement of number theory does not have any proof". By doing so, Godel was able to show that mathematical systems can contain contradictions and are therefore inconsistent. (This contradiction is true only of theories or systems, not of mathematical givens such as 2+2 = 4.) Therefore, how can mathematics be used to validate the empirical observations of scientists if it cannot be used even to validate its own consistency? In plain language, it cannot. (67) Based, then, on the work of both Hume and Godel, the conclusion is inescapable that absolute truth cannot be confined within the bounds of logical (inductive) or mathematical (probabilistic) systems. At best, all that can be done with induction or mathematics is to apprehend a part of the larger truth that is out there; the systems being used are simply not robust enough to capture the entirety of this truth. (68)
What can we assume about assumptions?
Quoting from Dismantling the Big Bang by Alex Williams p. 72
William of Occam, a British monk who studied and taught at Oxford University in the 14th century, put forward a very reasonable solution to this problem of assumptions. It has come to be known as "Occam's Razor." This principle says that assumptions should not be multiplied without necessity. In practical terms, it means that if explanation A requires 3 assumptions, and explanation B requires 5 assumptions, then explanation A is preferred on the grounds of economy.
As we consider the number of assumptions inherent in the BB theory, we should be alerted to the preposterous level of doubt we should have about the possibilities of it being anywhere near the truth.
Since we understand that there are several dozen models for the universe, we must conclude that it isn't an easy process to construct a cosmological model from our observations. Is it comparative to ten people observing an accident? Do we not often get ten different renditions of what happened? How much more difficult is it for ten scientists to look into the cosmos and tell us what happened after the fact. More accurately, these ten people are trying to describe an event that happened on the next street over, and no one was there to see it.
Observations can be explained in many different ways, but the observations being made are not complete in themselves, but lack the elements of observation over the entire time period and difficult to verify. There is the assumption of an application of local physics to conditions "out there" where perhaps that physics doesn't apply. We had an earlier discussion regarding quantum theory where it appears that that concept has merit. There is the assumption that what we observe is the same no matter where in the universe we make our observations from. Do we occupy a "typical" position in the universe or might our reference point be very atypical? How time and motion are not constants in our universe create assumptions about how things really work out there.
Fundamentally, there are only two scenarios out of dozens that most scientists wish to hang their hat on - the big-bang model and the steady state model. The steady state model is presently in disrepute so our only alternative is the big-bang. Professor Joseph Silk, head of astrophysics at Oxford University has this to say about why this is erroneous thinking: "Because there is essentially no direct and unambiguous experi-mental consequence of our assumptions about the first seconds in the big bang, we may question the model of a simple, uniform and isotropic big bang. Surely, the metaphysical conjecture continues, a highly irregular and chaotic beginning seems the most likely of the infinite set of possible models of the early universe. The one constraint is that such models must eventually decay, to a uniform state of expansion to provide an adequate description of the currently observed universe." (69)
Silk is saying that there is an "infinite set of possible models of the early universe." Also; what is a "metaphysical conjecture"? A conjecture is "the formation of conclusions from incomplete evidence; or a guess." Metaphysics is "the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles, especially of being and knowing." So a metaphysical conjecture about what happened in the beginning is a philosophical guess. One guess is as good as another. (70)
Verifiability - Can you prove it?
Most basic assumptions in cosmology are unverifiable. Oldershaw distinguishes between two types of un-testability:
1. Un-testability of the First Kind: A theory that is untestable because it cannot generate definitive testable predictions or whose predictions are impossible to test is inherently untestable.
Un-testability of the Second Kind: A theory that has many adjustable parameters or is in general modifiable in an ad hoc manner is effectively untestable.
Many of the basic features of big-bang cosmology are inherently untestable. The most critical events of the BB theory are not available to us. The latest inflationary big-bang models are heavily dependent upon particle physics, which in turn involves more unverifiable theoretical entities. The standard model of particle physics has more than twenty parameters (such as particle masses and coupling strengths of the forces) that cannot be uniquely derived and are thus freely adjustable. Many of the problems in particle physics are 'solved' ad hoc by inventing new concepts. (71)
By 1934, Karl Popper (1902-1994) had concluded that the mathematical probability of all scientific theories was zero. In his work, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, Popper stated, "My own view is that the various difficulties of inductive logic here sketched are insurmountable. So also, I fear, are those inherent in the doctrine, so widely current today, that inductive inference, although not 'strictly valid', can attain some degree of 'reliability' or of 'probability'." (72)
Popper's second major breakthrough was his recognition of the "asymmetry between verifiability and falsifiability". For example - based on a casual observation of swans, one might easily formulate the hypothesis, "All swans are white." The only way, of course, to verify this statement would be to examine every swan in the universe to be absolutely certain that all swans are, indeed white. Popper, however, pointed out that an infinite number of observations would not be necessary to prove that this statement is false. A single observation of a black swan would be sufficient to falsify the statement, "All swans are white". Popper showed, that while it is forever beyond our ability to prove absolutely (verify) a universal statement; it is well within our means to disprove (falsify) such a statement. All truly scientific statements must be written such that they can be falsified - not verified. As Popper stated, "the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability".
In a perfect world, scientists might be willing to open up their work to criticism by pointing out the weak parts of their theories; under ideal conditions, scientists might willingly abandon pet theories as soon as they found them to be false. But in the real world things are quite different. Is Popper's falsifiability criterion the solution to the problem of demarcating science from pseudo-science? No. For Popper's criterion ignores the remarkable tenacity of scientific theories. Scientists have thick skins. They do not abandon a theory merely because facts contradict it. They normally invent some rescue hypothesis to explain what they then call a mere anomaly or, if they cannot explain the anomaly, they ignore it, and direct their attention to other problems.
Popper's principle of falsification fails to set science apart from pseudo-science. Scientists, naturally having a vested interest in the outcome of their work, are far more prone to justify than to falsify their theories. If neither induction, empiricism, verification, mathematical probability, nor falsification, can be used to separate scientific truth from religious or metaphysical truth, what can? (73)
Paul Feyerabend, philosopher of science (1924-1994) - came to the long-overdue conclusion that, in reality, there is no difference between scientific, religious, and metaphysical truth. Truth is truth no matter where you find it; it is the one immutable object in the universe. As Albert Einstein concluded, "All religions, arts, and sciences are branches of the same tree". Science itself, concluded Feyerabend, is a religion. Moreover, in the search for truth, because no preferred or superior methodology exists, the human mind should simply make use of every pathway that it finds available. (74)
We are lead to believe that astronomers are observing the past, but this is not true under further consideration. What they see is "coming from the past", but the actual observations are being done "in the present". We are told that these observations are "in a historical sense", what was happening billions of years ago, but what is omitted are the events that affected those observations over the time period from "then" until "now". This takes us directly into what assumptions will be applied to the activity of that light over billions of years. It is important to be clear on this issue. What people see, or think, or what they think they see, and then what is reported, leaves much to the imagination.
The observer is operating within a "paradigm". Paradigms' are ways in which people think about things, and ways in which ideas and theories are communicated. They are always an approximation of the truth. At a future time, the paradigm may hold up or will be discarded. Today, we are waiting patiently for someone to come along with another paradigm that explains the universe. One aspect of paradigms is the tenacity with which one holds on to the constructs within the paradigm. It almost seems that a paradigm becomes part of one's personality or identity. To give it up is like becoming another person. Usually the main scientists promoting this way of thinking have to die out before any new paradigms can take hold.
Isn't it All Just Storytelling? Stephen J. Gould notes in an essay titled "Literary Bias on the Slippery Slope," relates the following; So much of science proceeds by telling stories - and especially vulnerable to constraints of this medium because we so rarely recognize what we are doing. We think that we are reading nature by applying rules of logic and laws of matter to our observations. But we are often telling stories - in the good sense, but stories nonetheless.
The story of human evolution has great literary appeal because we've been telling stories to our children for generations. The usual basic plots are found in folktales around the world. The appearance of common story motifs and plots in scientific accounts of human evolution should warn us that we are not being given "just the facts." The "facts" in evolutionary reconstructions have been selected and standardized from a much larger body of data and have been organized in such a way that they tell a logical, pleasing story. Discrepancies or missing data are often ignored in the interest of telling a story that is complete and the flows smoothly from one point to the next. Such it is with the BB theory. (75)
Problems with Interpreting ..................................................................................................................Back to top
The idea that the universe, the galaxy, the solar system, the earth, life upon the earth, and the human mind, all arose by random chance and therefore have no real meaning staggers the human imagination - at least some human imaginations. Many ideas are initially appealing to the human mind simply because they are so foreign to common sense. Nevertheless, many scientists have prided themselves in believing the unbelievable and condemning the rest of society for not placidly following their example. As the White Queen boasted to Alice in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, "Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast".
In his book The Creator and the Cosmos (1993), Hugh Ross identifies no less than twenty-six physical parameters that must fall within extremely limited ranges in order for life to exist anywhere within the universe. He identifies another thirty-three parameters that must be precisely set for life to be possible on the earth. Science has found repeatedly that the statistical probabilities for life arising by chance in the universe are ridiculously low. Many scientists have looked at the evidence and have not missed the implications inherent in the fine-tuning of the universe, while others have dismissed it as "illusory." (76)
Science is but one manifestation of humanity's quest for absolute truth - not the ultimate acquisition of absolute truth. Because scientific truth is constantly changing, it cannot be absolute truth. Because modern science is not absolute truth, it must contain a mixture of truths and non-truths. Whether science can someday overcome these limitations and arrive at absolute truth is certainly open to debate. What cannot be debated is the current incomplete (non-absolute) state of current scientific understanding. (77)
Searching for truth is like a coin. It has two sides. Scientists today are looking at only one side of the coin and refuse to turn it over and observe what information can be attained on the other side. One side of the coin has a great deal of information, but it is incomplete. In order to understand everything there is to know about our coin we must turn it over. When I turn over my coin, I can find another potential solution to understanding the purpose and value inherent in the coin. Most importantly, I can read the words, "In God We Trust". Perhaps the coin of the universe has been turned over and other motivations, personal or otherwise, cause one to turn the coin back over and hide its relevancy.
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