Opening Scientific Exploration

What do we really know about our world? What is fact and what is opinion? What is knowledge and what is belief, and can we know the difference? Isn’t science about facts and religion about faith? Well, not entirely. Science, with all of its trappings of mathematics, still is subject to interpretation, ie, belief, based on assumptions. There is as much faith in science as in anything else we do. Consensus and computer models do not change a belief into a fact.

DO WE KNOW:

  • that there was a Big Bang that started the universe?
  • that black holes, parallel universes, exotic dark matter or dark energy exist ?
  • how all of the elements and physical laws originated?
  • how the galaxies, stars, the solar system, planets, the Earth or the moon were formed?
  • the true distances to other galaxies?
  • the age of the universe, our galaxy or the Earth?
  • that the universe, including space itself, is expanding?
  • that the fourth dimension or multiple dimensions exist?
  • that a dimension known as space-time exists?
  • what gravity is?
  • what time is?
  • what life is?
  • that life spontaneously arose from a soup of chemicals?
  • that all species evolved gradually from a common ancestor?
  • that the mind is just a program created by the brain?
  • what consciousness, thought or memory are?
  • what sleep is?
  • what instinct is?
  • why we have free will and are not just robotic slaves to our genes?
  • why we have abilities and skills that are not necessary or are detrimental to survival?

The answer to most of these and many other questions about science and our understanding of our world is MAYBE, NO, or PROBABLY NOT.

The bad news is that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew.

The good news is that we don’t know as much as we thought we knew.

Bringing some accepted scientific “facts” or the evidence supporting them into question will not tear down our knowledge base. On the contrary, it will open doors to more exciting discoveries, unconstrained by fixed paradigms[1] or established systems into which they must be fitted. By questioning everything, we can look at all things with fresh eyes and with minds open to all possibilities, regardless of established beliefs. This should lead to more scientific study and discoveries, not less. Robust scientific theories and real facts will be strengthened by such questioning.

Only the theories without proper basis or support will suffer. Even those will benefit from fresh approaches that may come closer to solving some of the remaining mysteries than is currently possible. It is to our benefit that true understanding can develop unconstrained by dogma[2]. Fixed dogma tends to constrain and inhibit new knowledge, especially if the new knowledge does not fit neatly into the established picture.


 

“Michael Faraday warned against the tendency of the mind ‘to rest on an assumption’ and when it appears to fit in with other knowledge to forget that it has not been proved.”

W. I. B. Beveridge, The Art of Scientific Investigation


 

[1] Paradigm – A picture or view of reality into which all facts and beliefs must fit.

[2] Dogma –established opinion put forth as authoritative, especially without adequate grounds.

Is Cosmology Science?




 

Cosmologists tell the following story: 

When the universe began, it all fit into a very tiny volume that then violently “exploded” and began to expand, ultimately creating all of the energy, matter, space and time.  Immediately after the Big Bang when there was only very hot energy, there was an Inflationary Period caused by to a false vacuum with repulsive gravity that expanded faster than the speed of light, but then inflation ended.  After that the universe continued to expand until it cooled enough for subatomic particles to condense out of energy.  Both matter and antimatter particles were created, so that most of the particles annihilated each other leaving only a small amount of leftover matter.  When the universe expanded and cooled further, subatomic particles were formed into the lightest atoms, mostly hydrogen and helium with a tiny amount of lithium.

Only when atoms of Hydrogen dominated the universe did the universe become transparent to radiation, e.g. light, X-Rays.  The very uniform Cosmic Microwave Background radiation is the cooled, redshifted remnant of the light from the Surface of Last Scattering, just before the universe became transparent to energy.  When objects such as stars were formed that could produce ions, the neutral universe became a reionized plasma[1].  Much later, as bodies moved farther apart, expansion began to accelerate due to Dark Energy, which is a repulsive force, counteracting Gravity.

Ordinary matter and energy make up less than 10% of the universe.  Dark Energy and Dark Matter, neither of which has been directly detected yet, make up the other 90-plus percent.  Dark Matter, which interacts only through gravity, is responsible for     1.) the formation of large scale structures, 2.) galaxy rotation rates that do not decrease with distance from the center and 3.) “closing” the universe to a finite size rather than an “open” universe that is infinite.


But is it science? What is the evidence for this scenario and are there other possible explanations that have been ignored?


Evidence for the Big Bang, Expanding Universe, Inflation, Acceleration, Dark Energy and Dark Matter: 

  • Solutions to Einstein’s general relativity field equations by Georges Lemaitre and Alexander Friedman in the 1920s that predicted expansion (or contraction) of the universe.  Alternative Possibility: There are many possible solutions to Einstein’s field equations, so choosing this one only fits a preconceived or preferred idea. It was seemingly confirmed by the redshift data. See below. The field equations are mere mathematical models of mathematically possible universes. Einstein’s own calculations included a Cosmological Constant that resulted in a static, non-expanding, universe, which did not fit with the desired progressive picture of others. At one point he supposedly renounced the Cosmological Constant when he told George Gamow that the “…the introduction of the cosmological term was the biggest blunder of his life,” although some others who knew him contended that, if true, it must have been a joke. Note that this so-called Einstein quote was only related by Gamow in 1970, not directly by Einstein who died in 1955. Long after rejecting Einstein’s Cosmological Constant, cosmologists have included a new Cosmological Constant, attributed to Dark Energy, to explain an apparent acceleration of expansion.

 

  • Redshift of light increases with distance indicating, by the Doppler Effect, that objects are receding and space between is expanding.  Alternative Possibility: Redshift could be due to other factors than the Doppler Effect. Longer wavelength(redshifted) light has lower energy so redshift could be from loss of power rather than from being stretched by receding sources. We know that light is affected by gravity and other fields and forces. We also know that farther is older, so forces acting on light have been acting longer the farther the object is from us, causing ever increasing redshift with distance. Fritz Zwicky proposed that gravitational forces sap energy from light as it passes.  His detractors called it “Tired Light” and wrongly attributed it to collisions in the Compton Effect, which Zwicky expressly excluded as causing too much scattering. See Hubble post.

 

  • Cosmic Background Radiation interpreted as extremely redshifted light from Surface of Last Scattering.  Alternative Possibility: The Cosmic Background Radiation (CMB) may just be the residual temperature of the universe from stars within it. It may even be a local feature of our galaxy. The 2.7K temperature of the CMB was accurately predicted by scientists as residual temperature from starlight long before it was discovered. Although CMB is the strongest, other wavelengths are also present in the cosmic background. See list and relative power of each wavelength region below. (figure from Wikimedia, public domain by user: pkisscs)  Ref: “History of the 2.7 K Temperature Prior to Penzias and Wilson” A. K. T. Assis, Instituto de Física “Gleb Wataghin” Universidade Estadual deCampinas 13083-970 Campinas, São Paulo, Brasil M. C. D. Neves Departamento de Física Universidade Estadual de Maringá 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil

Extragalactic-background-power-density

CGB = Cosmic Gamma Ray Background

CXB = Cosmic X-Ray Background

CUVOB = Cosmic UV-Visible Background

CIB = Cosmic Infrared Background

CMB = Cosmic Microwave Background

CRB = Cosmic Radio Wave Background

 

  • Large scale uniformity of the universe as evidence of early inflation.  Alternative Possibility: This is a red herring. The CMB is not that uniform, nearby galaxies are excluded and the visible universe may be a tiny part of an infinite universe that is not expanding, so no need to explain the supposed uniformity.

 

  • Mismatch of type 1A Supernovae standard candle redshift, interpreted as an acceleration of expansion and as evidence of Dark Energy, a repulsive force.  Alternative Possibility: This is a no-brainer. No real intergalactic distances have ever been measured.  They are calculated using a series of standard candles, so they may not be the actual distances and error likely increases with distance.  The standard candle mismatch does not necessarily mean there is a change in speed, only that there are forces we don’t understand that may affect standard candles or redshift.

 

  • Dark Matter, which has never been detected, is proposed on the basis that, by the Big Bang timeline, (13.7 billion years) there has not been time enough to form the large structures composed of galaxies without some unseen influence drawing galaxies together.  Galaxy rotation is still a mystery but if a Dark Matter halo is causing it, there must be an extraordinary balance in each galaxy to account for observations.  Unlike the solar system, where outer planets move slower than inner planets according to standard gravitational calculations, galactic outer bodies appear to revolve in near unison with the inner bodies.  Dark matter is proposed to account for this unsolved mystery.  Alternative Possibilities: If the universe is not expanding and is both infinite and very, very old, large scale structures are not a problem. Galaxy rotation, while still a mystery, may have more to do with the galactic plasma magnetic fields than gravity alone.  Work is needed in this area but is not funded by leading cosmologists who prefer to believe in magic foo-foo dust.  It turns out that the universe is nearly flat, not severely curved and finite as first proposed.  There is no need to “close” the universe if it is not expanding.

“Mathematicians deal with possible worlds, with an infinite number of logically consistent systems.  Observers explore the one particular world we inhabit.  Between the two stands the theorist.  He studies possible worlds but only those which are compatible with the information furnished by the observers.  In other words, theory attempts to segregate the minimum number of possible worlds which must include the actual world we inhabit. Then the observer, with new factual information, attempts to reduce the list still further.  And so it goes, observation and theory advancing together toward a common goal of science, knowledge of the structure and behavior of the physical universe.”

                 —Edwin Hubble, “The Problem of the Expanding Universe,” 1942


Unfortunately, this is not what we see in cosmology, which has become mired in dogma and has not allowed further progress that does not fit with their nested set of assumptions.  Redshift interpreted as recessional speed and a preferred mathematical model that predicted expansion are the basis of modern cosmology. Other views or data are not considered, funded or published. Conclusion:  Cosmology as we know it is not science.  It is a religiously held philosophy that supports the progressive anti-god agenda.


“I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos.  There has to be some organizing principle.  God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing.”

                                                                    —Alan Sandage, Cosmologist


“However, the most unhealthy aspect of cosmology is its unspoken parallel with religion. Both deal with big but probably unanswerable questions. The rapt audience, the media exposure, the big book-sale, tempt priests and rogues, as well as the gullible, like no other subject in science.”

 —Michael Disney, “The Case Against Cosmology” Published in General Relativity and Gravtitation, Vol. 32, Issue 6, p. 1125, 2000


 

 

Did Hubble discover the Big Bang?

The Redshift Trap

Shortly after stars were first seen in galaxies, confirming that they are outside our galaxy, Edwin Hubble and others in 1929 discovered that the redshift of light from nearby galaxies was proportional to the distance as calculated from apparent brightness of Cepheid variable stars within the galaxies[1].  This is called Hubble’s Law and the proportionality constant is the Hubble Constant.  Because a redshift had been noted earlier in stars within our galaxy and had been attributed to movement of the source stars away from us, it was natural to assume, based on Hubble’s observations, that redshift of nearby galaxies was also caused by movement away from us.

This phenomenon is known as the Doppler Effect and is attributed to the fact that each wave of light is emitted just a little farther away as the source recedes, thus “stretching” the light to longer (redder) wavelengths.  Since farther is redder, farther must be faster by the Doppler Effect.

Since galaxies are light years distant we are seeing them as they appeared in the past.  Were the stars in the past moving faster than those in more recent times?  At first it appeared to be so.  Was the effect caused by the universe slowing down with time?  If the expansion is slowing down, could it eventually stop and then start to contract?  Instead, almost from the beginning, due to preconceived mathematically based theories postulating a beginning from a much smaller size, the redshift was seen as an expansion of the universe, not as contracting or slowing.  But what could explain the acceleration into the past?

After Einstein had defined space as being space-time, astronomers started to think of empty space as a thing the way the preceding generation talked about space filling aether.  Some theoretical astronomers, i.e. cosmologists, decided that the space between galaxies was expanding making more distant objects only appear to be moving faster.  (Like raisins on rising bread, all are moving at the same rate, but the expanding spaces between add up so that farther appears to be faster.) They never offered to explain the expansion of space; they just assumed it as a given.

After redshifts were found that indicated speeds near the speed of light, Hubble doubted that recessional speed was responsible for the redshift of galaxies.  In later years, he speculated about the intergalactic medium interacting with the light by gravitation or magnetism, etc. rather than expansion, as the cause of the redshift.  He is credited with discovering the expanding universe and thus the Big Bang, but after his earlier work, he spent the rest of his life working to refute it[2].


“[If the redshifts are a Doppler shift] … the observations as they stand lead to the anomaly of a closed universe, curiously small and dense, and, it may be added, suspiciously young. On the other hand, if redshifts are not Doppler effects, these anomalies disappear and the region observed appears as a small,homogeneous, but insignificant portion of a universe extended indefinitely both in space and time”

                             — E. Hubble, Roy. Astron. Soc. M. N., 17, 506, 1937


Link:  Hubble and red shift by Vincent Sauvé

[1] “A Relationship Between Distance and Radial Velocity Among Extra-Galactic Nebulae,” Edwin Hubble, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Vol. 15, 168, 1929.

[2] “The Problem of the Expanding Universe,” Edwin Hubble, American Scientist, Vol. 30, April 1942, No. 2