Big Bang Rebuttal, Part 1: A Note from Joseph A. Olson

SUPERSTITION has exerted a powerful force on human psyche and history.  Strengthened with a few facts, a superstition becomes accepted reality until new perceptions can reopen debate.  That is an exciting possibility in today’s Nouveau Renaissance.  Humanity’s new course needs a road sign: “Caution, Falling False Paradigms Ahead”.

Climategate has shown that even the most well funded science can be wrong.  All objective, science trained minds have left the Global Warming station.  Well meaning scientists are already doing damage assessments and future hazard avoidance studies.  It is now a perfect time to reassess another possibly defective theory on the origin of the universe.

Celestial Spheres

The ‘Flat Earth Theory’ required an explanation of cyclic visible planetary movements of the then know members of our solar system.  The Sun rose over the Earth everyday in a predictably variable pattern.  The moon waxed and waned between full and new.  The inner orbit planets, Mars and Venus arose predictably and briefly as morning or evening stars.  The outer planets, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn crossed the complete sky and then disappeared for long and varying periods of time.

Fourteenth century scientists struggled to explain these readily observable events and attempted to explain them as nested spheres, driven by great gears, which were below the flat Earth and thus invisible.  Mechanical clocks were just then being perfected and animated character clocks made this seem plausible to the masses.

Galileo added a new complexity and doubt when his telescope observations indicated moons circling the outer planets.  The set of spheres and gears necessary for the Flat Earthers became impossible.  To those in power it was time to silence the messenger.  It is hard to refuse the offer, “the world is flat or your heads on a platter”.

The original Renaissance involved a startling across the board shift in paradigms.  Gutenberg printing presses spread literacy, Columbus doubled the size and transformed the shape of the world.  Telescopes and microscopes vastly expanded the visible universe in both directions.  Freedom challenged feudalism and Martin Luther challenged the Pope.  Enlightenment was no one trick pony.

Today humanity is on the threshold of a new awakening.  The internet is our new printing press and our collective conscious is our new hemisphere.  New prophets and new visions are confronting the established twentieth century theories of Relativity, Big Bang and Quantum Mechanics.

Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity in 1905, Planck the Quantum Mechanics Theory in 1918 and Hubbel the Expanding Universe Theory in 1929.  All of these theories appear correct within certain ranges but have conflicts at their boundaries.  Scientists struggled thru the last half of the twentieth century to find a “Unified Field Theory” that could join these theories.

The results of this effort could best be described as mathematical masturbation.  Elaborate formulas for “String Theory” expanded the known four dimensions to nine and required extra “multi-verses” of invisible worlds.  Since noting behaved according to the predicted mass calculations, then there must also be anti-matter and dark matter.  Newtonian physics require a force for acceleration and nothing ever explained the force required to accelerate entire galaxies.   We are approaching the fourteenth century dilemma of too many spheres and too many gears.

My Karma Ran Over Your Dogma

Einstein never really bought into either of the conflicting theories and was too busy developing a bomb that could short circuit the Third Reich to get involved in those debates.  Many others have been troubled by these one sided debates and hungered for alternative explanations.

To deconstruct a superstition you must begin at the point of real fact.  All stars and galaxies are far enough away and move slowly enough to be considered fixed point sources.  As the Earth circles the Sun in a 180 million mile ellipse, we witness closer points moving more relative to the distant points.  As you walk across your backyard the tree in your yard appears to move relative to the two trees on the hill down the street.  Those two distant trees do not appear to have any movement relative to each other.

What Hubbell first observed with his vastly improved telescope was that some of the previously ‘fuzzy’ stars were in fact clusters of stars forming very distant galaxies.  Using spectral analysis he was shocked to find that these galaxies were moving away from us.  Even more startling was that the further the apparent distance, the greater the apparent speed.

The often mentioned analogy is dots on an inflating balloon all expand away from each other and the further away the greater the movement.  To an observer on the balloon surface there would be some dots visible on the opposite side of the balloon but there would also be a horizon beyond the balloon with ABSOLUTELY NO DOTS.

Part of Einstein’s Theory was that space was curved and that light was bent as it traveled past a large mass.  Repeated experiments have shown that light does bend as predicted and to see how this would change the Big Bang Theory, we must introduce two other concepts of Physics.

Inertial Reference Plane and Angular Acceleration

These are two concepts that are both unsettling and liberating to the freshman Physics student.  It is at first hard to believe that the two eyes and two ears that you have used your whole life are not the perfect place from which to understand the universe.  In fact, there is no perfect place and everything appears different depending on your unique place.  This does not imply that there is no right or wrong answers to scientific question, a fact I learned on many examinations.

Your antique phonograph spins at a constant velocity, but the first song on the album is moving a greater distance than the inner most, last song.  The further from the center spindle, the greater the angular acceleration.  Points of light along the album would all appear the same from the center UNLESS the light was required to circle the album in a spiral to the center.  Under this condition the further away the light, the greater the apparent acceleration.

Part of the curved aspect of space is that light would eventually return to its source.   At fourteen billion light years and counting scientists have yet to discover the ‘edge of the universe’ which is beginning to appear to be as mythical as the ‘edge of the Earth’.  Our next ‘breakthrough’ may be when we see all the way around the universe to the backside of the Milky Way.

The great mass of the billions of galaxies that we see has a tremendous ability to bend light and in perfect conformity to Einstein’s Theories.  The farther away the galaxy, the greater mass required to pass and the greater the apparent acceleration.  Imagine a non-expanding universe.  It appears that it is never too late to open a hundred year old debate.

Joseph A Olson, PE
April 22, 2010


37 Responses to Big Bang Rebuttal, Part 1: A Note from Joseph A. Olson

  1. david elder February 24, 2011 at 5:54 am #

    The medieval scholars did not believe in a flat earth. They had retained the knowledge of a round earth from the Greeks. See J Russell 1991, Inventing The Flat Earth.

  2. cementafriend February 24, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    Jen, thanks for the interesting post by Joseph Olsen -something different to keep the brain cells ticking over. For Joseph the following maybe interesting . Ed Dowdye says measurements show that light is only bent by interaction in the corona of the sun, stars and “blackholes” and not by gravitation in empty space. You need to follow the link to get at some of Ed’s papers. Maybe Einstein had it wrong in his general theory of relativity.
    This article by Miles Mathis is relevent to the general thoughts of consenus and politics in science and technology.

  3. Neville February 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    Just think we are just a tiny grain in our galaxy and there are billions of other galaxies “out there”, so what is it all about?

    If the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is around 15 billion what other life forms must have developed in that time, some close perhaps and others impossible distances away.

    Most of us won’t admit it but I think that deep down most people actually believe that life must exist on other worlds, but how or why is the question.

  4. ad February 24, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    It will new news to many that Einstein was busy on the atomic bomb development.

  5. Kaviraj February 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    If light bends and returns to the source, we could easily conceive of the fact that it is therefore everywhere at the same time and thus cannot have any speed. It is a continuum. Thus the “speed” of light is only a mental concept and has no reality. Goodbye, Einstein, you engage in a fallacy of reasoning.

    Big Bang? What was before the Big Bang? The dreaded singularity. However, this poses a problem. If the dreaded singularity contains everything – inclusive of space – then where can it be found? Nowhere! It cannot be anywhere, because space does not exist, yet. Since it cannot be anywhere, it certainly cannot bang and expand into anything, since that anything has no existence. The Big Bang is simply another fallacy in reasoning.

    The problem with these theories is that they are simply speculation. “Theory” or “hypothesis” are simply euphemisms for speculation. To me, it is clear – science has absolutely no idea about the universe. It is far too large to make any certain pronouncements on its nature, its mechanics and its origins. On such clownesque speculations whole university departments gobble up gigantic sums of tax-payer’s money in the fruitless search for origins. A waste of effort, energy, time and money, which could be better spent in sustainable living and harmonious cooperation with the cyclic events on our planet.

  6. Joseph A Olson February 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    This article is one in a series of articles explaining a very viable alternative to the linear expanding Universe Theory. The proposed Rotating Universe Theory does not require any extra dimension or that there be 90% invisible ‘dark’ matter. Consider this an introduction to what I promise will be an interesting thought process.

    When my article was first posted, the Author, R. A. Ashworth sent me his article “Confirmation of Helical Travel of Light Through Microwaveuide Analysis” which was published in “Physics Essays”, vol 11, Number 3, in 1998. In this he explains evidence that light is a duality of higher speed arc traveling photon pushing a light speed wave front. This adds another wrinkle in the Dopler shift for distant Galaxies.

    When this article was first published I got the same comment on Einstiens involvement in the World War Two effort. To verify my claim I read “Einstein, the Life and Times” by Ronald W Clark. This 775 page biography had a full chapter on Einsteins involvement in secret war projects, which are still classified information. I consider that a weekly four hour visit by a high ranking OSS officer for most of the war could easily have included a few Manhattan Project issues. More on this is in my article “End of the World as You KNOW It” posted at Canada Free Press. My thanks for your comments and assure you that the rest of this series will be VERY thought provolking.

  7. el gordo February 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Neville said ‘life must exist on other worlds, but how or why is the question.’

    No mystery there, it’s a carbon universe and so the opportunity exists for life to exist everywhere within the habitable zones.

    As for why? My guesstimate, the universe is a virtual reality so I don’t take it too seriously.

    One final point, UFO are real. I accidently took a pic of one the other day.

  8. Neville February 24, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    EG I agree about the carbon base for life, or life as we can understand it, but isn’t the universe real?

    But come on don’t hold out on us, what does the ufo photo look like and under what circumstances did you take it.

  9. el gordo February 24, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    I was taking pictures of buildings in a country town and later, while going through them, I saw a UFO. An unidentified flying object is just that, so I enlarged and enhanced it to get a better glimpse.

    The object is traveling at speed, going straight up and it’s not a bird or plane.

    The universe is real as long as we all agree it is real.

  10. el gordo February 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    Paul Davies (Macquarie University) has a refreshing frame of mind and in this archived SMH article he articulates perfectly my understanding of the situation.

  11. Larry Fields February 24, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    Interesting topic. I hope that I’m not stealing Joseph’s thunder from Part 2, but the Big Bang (BB) hypothesis is not consistent with the Black Hole (BH) hypothesis. We may be able to have one of the two, but not both. Or both hypotheses may be incorrect. Why?

    In pop sci articles about the putative Big Bang, one sometimes encounters phrases similar to the following:
    When the universe was the size of a grapefruit…

    Wait a minute! According to the Black Hole hypothesis, when a collection of matter is squished into a sphere having a sufficiently small radius, the velocity of escape will be faster than c, and it would take an infinite amount of energy to bring any object trapped inside of a BH to the outside. Not even light could escape.

    If the Universe was once the size of a grapefruit, then it is a BH, and we are currently living inside a BH. According to an astrophysicist acquaintance, the equations that describe the behavior of objects inside a BH, from the perspective of an observer who is also inside the BH, make some very odd predictions that are not consistent with the reality we know and love.

    The BB hypothesis is consensus science, for whatever that’s worth. The BH hypothesis is also popular among astrophysicists. For example, the late Chandrasekhar (spelling?) received a Nobel for his work on the BH hypothesis. However more astrophysicists are willing to question the BH hypothesis, than to question the BB hypothesis.

    Interestingly, a second astrophysicist acquaintance told me that the BH hypothesis was a “domain solution”, to use his expression. In other words, the BH hypothesis was a fallback position, just in case their sacred cow, the BB hypothesis, was falsified. (You won’t see that admission in the infotainment media.)

    Speaking of the devil, there’s also a falsification issue here. To illustrate the conundrum, let’s look at an unrelated theory about the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Many scientists are convinced that the Chixulub (spelling?) Impact in the Yucatan area, and the subsequent ‘impact Winter’, was the death knell for the overly-specialized dinos. A widespread iridium layer is one of several lines of evidence to support the theory.

    If we wanted stronger evidence, hypothetically we could send Dr Who back in time to observe the impact and its aftermath. What about sending the Good Doctor back even further in time to observe the birth of the Universe? In that thought experiment, Dr Who, his tardis, and his long scarf would all be toast. The BB hypothesis does a fairly good job of covering its tracks. Although the microwave background studies are often billed as the icing on the cake of a BB ‘theory’, there’s no cake to put the icing on!

    I also like the author’s expression, “mathematical masturbation.” Nice try Joseph, but you’ll have to get up pretty early in the morning to be more irascible than I am.

  12. ad February 24, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    You have said nothing to back up your claim that Einstein was busy developing the bomb. I read the Clark bio too and recall that he was consulted on a few matters, mostly on the QT because he didn’t have security clearance.

    The edge of the universe is NOT postulated at being 14 billion light years away. That is merely the edge of the observable part. I believe the currently accepted edge due to cosmic inflation theory is around 170 BLY away at least.

    I have no great love for the big-bang theory or the conceptual basis of relativity for that matter, but do object to misrepresentation when I see it.

  13. Alan D McIntire February 25, 2011 at 2:02 am #

    It’s been known since the time of Pythagoras, in the 5th or 6th century BC, that the world is sperical. Washington Irving, author of “Rip van Winkle” and “The Legend of
    Sleepy Hollow”, helped popularize the idea of Columbus proving the world is round when he published a fictionalized biograpy of same.

    A curved space does NOT necessarily mean light will return to its source. In a POSITIVELY curved simple space, like the surface of a sphere, light will return , but in a negatively curved space, it will not.

  14. mkelly February 25, 2011 at 2:42 am #

    Both the BB and string theory defy the first law of thermodymanics. To wit “Matter can neither be created nor destroied.” Just popping into existance does not cut it. If two branes bumped together than where did they come from.

    If light in fact is bent by gravity then we really do not know where distance stars are as we have know way of knowing if the light passed by a black hole or how many.

    Dark matter and dark energy defy the ideas that matter when hot glows at the proper wavelength given the temperature. We keep inventing ideas that are in conflict with accepted laws.

  15. DP February 25, 2011 at 5:06 am #

    Re Larry Fields we can’t send Dr Who back. I saw a science programme where it claimed that no time machine could go back in time to before it was created. so unless we can find a very ancient time machine left by an alien civilisation we are thwarted.

  16. Schiller Thurkettle February 25, 2011 at 6:27 am #

    LOL@El Gordo

    “so I enlarged and enhanced it to get a better glimpse. The object is traveling at speed, going straight up and it’s not a bird or plane.”

    What photographic technology might that be?

  17. el gordo February 25, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    The latest digital Apple technology.

  18. Schiller Thurkettle February 25, 2011 at 9:49 am #

    El Gordo, that’s very interesting. Everyone I know is quite certain that photographs don’t move.

  19. A C of Adelaide February 25, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Just as a matter of interest is it Olsen or Olson?

  20. el gordo February 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Thanx Schiller, got it at last.

    While you’re there, what do you make of this quote from the Paul Davies article above?

    ‘If the force that holds atomic nuclei together were just a tiny bit stronger or a tiny bit weaker, the reaction wouldn’t work properly and life may never have happened.’

    A failed experiment?

  21. cohenite February 25, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    El, I wouldn’t go down that path; it’s tautological; humans are here not because conditions are wonderfully suited for us but as a result of chance; the alternative is ID, which I don’t think Paul Davies subscribes to. Douglass Adams summed it up best when he described a puddle’s wonder at the fact that the ditch in the ground was perfectly suited for it.

  22. el gordo February 25, 2011 at 6:13 pm #

    Cohers, nicely put and I enjoyed the yarn at the end. That must be why I’m an atheist.

    Olson said: ‘Today humanity is on the threshold of a new awakening. The internet is our new printing press and our collective conscious is our new hemisphere.’

    This is undoubtedly true, a communications revolution has enabled people the power to organize very effectively against tyrants.

    The printing press also had a profound effect on society and history will see the internet in the same light.

  23. Louis Hissink February 25, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Larry Fields wrote:

    “Interesting topic. I hope that I’m not stealing Joseph’s thunder from Part 2, but the Big Bang (BB) hypothesis is not consistent with the Black Hole (BH) hypothesis. We may be able to have one of the two, but not both. Or both hypotheses may be incorrect. Why?”

    The clue lies in proposing the actual physics.

    Big Bang theory is simply reified Creationism.
    Black holes are re-efied mathematical singularities.

    Both might be mathematically elegant, but physically problematical.

  24. DP February 26, 2011 at 4:15 am #

    I think the idea people believed the World was round was also popularised by a Hollywood film about Columbus I saw as a kid. In it he had to convince some worthy’s that he could reach India without falling of the edge. Hollywood had a lot to answer for.

  25. Joseph A Olson February 26, 2011 at 5:47 pm #

    Correct spelling is Olson, but the message is what is most important. Offline email with webhost on the Einstein brought this exchange:

    Everyone wants of claim Einsteins support for thier cause and since he was for the most part an anit-war pacifist and after the war an outspoken opponent of FUTURE nuke bomb use, many then imply that he did not know or approve of WW II use. Einstein did have a signed contract with the Board of Ordnance for the duration of the war that included a four hour meeting every Friday with an OSS officer.

    The two bombs produced were heavy, bulky and just barely able to fit in the just delivered B-29 bombers. One of the ‘problems’ that Einstein admitted solving was the impact of a mega-ton explosion on the harbor floor of Hiroshima. Einstein provided the calculations on the resulting Tsumami which could have been delivered by a submarine, but ONLY if a nuclear explosion.

    Since 30 of his top associates and former students who were prominent in the nuclear physics field were known to be involved in a ‘secret’ weapon project and that Einstein had written 3 different letters to FRD in support of this weapon, it is doubtful that he was not knowledgable and supportive per this quote:

    “While I am a convinced pacifist there are circumstances in which I believe the use of force is appropriate-namely, in the face of an enemy unconditionally bent on destroying me and my people.”

    Right now the controllers of Faux Science and Faux History are bent on destroying me and the FREEDOM of my people. For that reason, i question ALL orthodoxy.

  26. wyn palmer February 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Where to begin…
    There are so many miss-understandings and miss-statements in this article that it’s hard to know where to start.
    Possibly writing a similar article going through each supposed point in turn might be the approach, but I have limited inclination and insufficient time to do so.
    However, here are a few clues as to what to what research to perform, which I will consequently leave for the reader.
    Evidence for the big bang, inflation.
    Cosmic microwave background radiation. Acoustic peaks. Nucleosynthesis ratios, symmetry breaking, etc. etc.
    What expands is space, so no violation of c being the limiting velocity, and no expanding “into” something…
    Matter energy equivalence (E=mc squared) so that a high energy density “condenses” into matter as space expands and the universe cools.
    General Relativity (GR)- lots of evidence and not just “local”. For example, gravitational lensing due to galaxy clusters, etc. etc.
    String theory is an attempt to marry the GR large scale world with the quantum mechanical world.
    Needs extra dimensions to explain (amongst other things) why gravity is so weak compared to the other fundamental forces.
    The black hole Schwarzchild radius (r) is proportional to the mass (including energy equivalence) and the mass of the sun has r= c. 3km.
    So, just the Milky Way galaxy alone (which has a mass of c. 6*10**11 suns) would have a r of about .25 light years and there are hundreds of billions of galaxies- not to mention other sources of mass- so the universe could be (in) a black hole and still have an observable radius of 13.75billion light years (the currently accepted value I believe).
    It would be possible to go on and on, but all that needs to be said is- do some research- look at the evidence- carefully- and if there are issues with the current theories state why you disagree with the explanation for the evidence and what the contradictory hypothesis is that explains these issues.
    Then state the predictions for the new hypothesis and list the evidence that it does not explain.
    Perhaps then we can have a coherent discussion.

  27. George February 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm #

    “Our next ‘breakthrough’ may be when we see all the way around the universe to the backside of the Milky Way.”

    Which should manifest much like the cosmic microwave background radiation that we currently see.

    Imagine if you were at the North Pole and if you had a powerful enough telescope, you could see the back of your own head. You would see it in no matter which direction you looked. Your “head” would appear to be “smeared” across the entire sky. If you made a panoramic montage of what you saw, your “head” would be smeared across the entire horizon. Maybe this microwave radiation is light from our own galaxy shifted down in frequency even below the infrared. Who knows, but interesting to think about.

  28. Larry Fields February 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    25 February 2011 Last updated at 12:25 ET

    Dark matter theory challenged by gassy galaxies result

    By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News

    A controversial theory that challenges the existence of dark matter has been buoyed by studies of gas-rich galaxies.

    Instead of invoking dark matter, the Modified Newtonian Dynamics theory says that the effects of gravity change in places where its pull is very low.

    The new paper suggests that Mond better predicts the relationship between gassy galaxies’ rotation speeds and masses.


    By contrast, Modified Newtonian Dynamics (Mond) first appeared in 1983, when Mordehai Milgrom of the Weizmann Institute in Israel proposed it in an Astrophysical Journal paper.


    Now, Stacy McGaugh of the University of Maryland in the US says that a study of galaxies that have few stars and are dominated by gas adds weight to the Mond theory.

    Read more here.

    Wet Blanket Larry’s comment. I refuse to believe in Dark Matter until I can purchase a bottle of the stuff at Home Depot.

    BTW, if McGaugh is suggesting that we replace the gravitational constant with a more general gravitational function, then–depending on the formulation of this new function–Mamikon Mnatsakanian’s research suggests that that would put the kibosh on Black Holes.

  29. Larry Fields February 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

    Comment from: wyn palmer February 26th, 2011 at 9:57 pm
    “It would be possible to go on and on, but all that needs to be said is- do some research- look at the evidence- carefully- and if there are issues with the current theories state why you disagree with the explanation for the evidence and what the contradictory hypothesis is that explains these issues.
Then state the predictions for the new hypothesis and list the evidence that it does not explain.
Perhaps then we can have a coherent discussion.”

    Wow, Perry Mason Science! Sorry wyn, but that’s not how REAL science works.

    As is the case with the US criminal justice system, it’s not necessary to provide evidence for an alternative ‘theory of the crime’. All that a defense attorney needs to do is to poke holes in the Prosecution’s case, in order to foster reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors. Similarly, in real science, a single elegant experiment–or a single counterexample–can falsify an attractive, politically correct hypothesis, and send everyone scurrying ‘back to the drawing boards’. Notwithstanding cocktail party chit-chat, it is absolutely NOT necessary for anyone to propose and to support a “new hypothesis.” BS is always BS, even without an alternative ‘theory of the crime’.

    Essentially, you have dumped a load of scientific buzzwords, crossed your fingers, and hoped that it would pass muster as nascent “coherent discussion”. I’d like to see you go into some depth on any one of the items in your laundry list, and show how it supports or falsifies any of the points raised in this already-coherent discussion. And please try to make it sufficiently simple for the benighted nonspecialists (including myself) here.

  30. Wyn Palmer February 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Sure- just name your topic. The “buzzwords” are real- the explanations… Well, simple explanations are often not so simple, unfortunately., and the coherent discussions- hardly even “nascent” at this time.

    Am I allowed to cite papers etc?
    For example, would citations for the explanations of the origin and significance of the “acoustic peaks” in the CMBR or the reasons for the specific ratios of the nuclei formed after the big bang really be acceptable?
    The explanations for these are inherently fairly complicated and mathematical and not readily amenable to a believable simplistic analysis without a great deal of hand-waving.
    Modern cosmology is not a trivial pursuit.

    Actually, my description is the way “real” science works.
    Although I accept that I may have appeared to overstate the need for an immediate alternative hypothesis (consider the context- the comments contain many” “alternative” hypotheses, all stated without justification), it is nonetheless necessary to coherently and carefully explain where the current hypothesis (or model) fails, and only from there can one advance to an alternative hypothesis that does explain the discrepancies.
    It is also vital to explain the deficiencies of the alternative hypothesis- otherwise it is just “cargo cult science”, (not dissimilar, in my opinion, to much of modern “climate science”), and to offer falsifiable predictions, thus following the Popperian ideal.
    The proponents of modern “big bang theory”, to their credit, generally follow these tenets, and have offered a number of predictions (such as the afore mentioned nucleosynthesis ratios), which have been tested and – with caveats- have been found to be correct.
    That seems, in my mind, to be “good science”.

  31. Wyn Palmer February 28, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Below is a reference to a decent layman explanation of the acoustic peak phenomenon.
    Note that this is dependent on the universe being in a small, hot, dense, state- i.e. post the initial stages of the big bang, and is evidenced in both the measured CMBR and the distribution of baryonic matter (galaxies).
    The Wikipedia page for “big bang nucleosynthesis” provides a decent explanation.
    Of particular note are the agreements between theory and measurement for the most abundant elements, He3 and He4, but also the discrepancies in the Li7 etc. values which are causing refinements in the models, but have not falsified the big bang theory.

    A good layman’s explanation of the big bang and “inflation”

  32. wes george February 28, 2011 at 5:49 pm #

    If history is any guide, Olson is so right that today’s cosmological understanding is pathetically inadequate to the task at hand, which is nothing less to explain where, how and hence the entire bloody universe has come and is going.

    But it is far far worse than Olson admits.

    It seems as if he thinks if only we would get back down to “real facts” and basic physics we could work out how the universe came to be and where it is going. And thus all those pesky questions in between, whence we came, why are we here. Ultimately, Who Are We? could be answered empirically.

    The problem with the “rational” approach is that there is no evidence from before the universe existed and none from after it ends (assuming it does end) In fact, there is scant evidence of anything outside a few billion light years in any direction. And the evidence seems weirder and weirder the further out we look with our latest tools. The only “real fact” obvious is that we are pretty damn ignorant about the nature of the cosmos, even within our local region of our own bloody galaxy.

    My problem with Olson is that instead of admitting to be equally as ignorant as the sophists who try to plumb the meaning of the universe with mathematics or infolding multiple dimensions, he claims that simple old fashion common sense will do the trick and concludes that the universe isn’t expanding. He represents a kind of Protestant Reformation to Catholic ritualism, as an analogy. Olson is a literalist, back-to-basics bloke. But the secrets of the universe are utterly indifferent and alien to human intelligence of any flavor.

    Just how a non-expanding universe is any more useful an explanation to anything than an expanding one isn’t clear to a mere layman like me self. But it does seem like there might be a theme emerging here that is more about temperament than the stumbling evolutionary course of science. It’s as if we are arguing about the number of angels that can dance on a pin.

    Any honest discussion about cosmology should rapidly define for us the very limits of what empirical science has to say about the nature of the universe and the beginnings of what faith-based knowledge might be able to add to the discussion.

  33. Larry Fields February 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    I read the Wikipedia article on BBN, to which you linked. From my chemist’s perspective, it was mostly hand-waving, with a dollop of buzzwords, and a dash of buzz-phrases thrown in for good measure. Oh, I almost forgot about the vacuous claims of the form: Such-and-such observations are consistent with the theory. That’s rich!

    Whaddayaknow? Another content-free pop sci fairy tale purporting to illuminate some facet of the BB hypothesis. BS or real science? Until I see something substantive that I can sink my analytical teeth into, I’m assuming that it’s the former, and that it’s in the same category as pharmaceutical research, CAGW, Macroeconomics, and Women’s Studies. I’m assuming that the other two articles are equally bad. Sorry, I am thoroughly unimpressed by mavens and by consensus ‘science’.

    Essentially, all that you’ve contributed to the topic thus far can be summarized as follows:
    Trust me. Dada knows best, because Dada uses catchy buzzwords.

    Surely you can do better than the cargo cult approach to a scientific issue. Please give me a good reason to take BB seriously. And a comparison to the Steady State straw man does not cut the mustard with me, if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors.

  34. Wyn Palmer March 2, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    Well, this illustrates the conundrum precisely. I can provide links and explanations for the various pieces and proofs, but unless certain basic understandings exist, such as something as fundamental as the significance of the fine structure constant’s hard to move beyond the hand waving.
    Probably a good start is understanding what all the “buzz-words” actually mean, and what are the bases for their existence. But how to do, how to do…
    Just to illustrate the problem…
    As a chemist you are undoubtedly familiar with the apparent (but real) absurdities of quantum mechanics, (after all you have to deal with the behaviors of chemical bonds) which, as an example, have led to the development of the standard model of particle physics with all of its non-intuitive aspects, and yet such a model is used to predict behaviors that have previously appeared to be both irrational and contrary to every day experience and expectation.
    That such counter-intuitive behaviors are real is illustrated by the existence of, well, virtually all of modern day technology (semiconductors, lasers, superconductors etc. etc.) which depends heavily on quantum mechanical effects for their operation.
    I’ve tried explaining these relatively trivial aspects of quantum mechanics to laypeople, and the end is the same- the discussion rapidly degenerates from fermi-dirac and bose-einstein statistics to a bunch of hand waving.
    The theory of the big bang is the same. It requires a passing knowledge of the concept of vacuum expectation value, of the creation of virtual particles from the vacuum, of the idea that general relativity defines gravitational potential energy as negative, and hence an “inflaton” particle from which the universe develops can have precisely zero total energy (and hence can exist, essentially, for ever), that the unified forces separate out as the inflaton expands, first gravity, then the strong force leading to rapid inflation, that quantum fluctuations set up acoustic waves in the hot, dense, early universe that are “frozen” when the temperature falls enough and the universe becomes transparent.
    Etc. etc. etc.
    There is a causal string of understanding here.
    It takes work, and in some ways is not for the faint of heart.
    I’m really not certain how to proceed.

  35. wyn palmer March 2, 2011 at 12:42 pm #


    I have long been a follower of the MOND versus the “concordance cosmological model” which contains dark matter and dark energy. In some ways I wish MOND were true, life would be so interesting…
    I do understand that MOND seems to better fit the data at galactic scales (sub c. 8MParsecs) but it really is hard to swallow as it fails (amongst others) several of the tests that, interestingly enough, are responsible for the confidence in the Big Bang theory- that is, the location of the CMB acoustic peaks and the nucleonsynthesis ratios (and others).
    It also leads to a breakdown in one of the fundamental tenets of physics- the concept of lorentz invariance- it has inherent non-local properties and as such is inconsistent with General Relativity (through the equivalence principle). It also seems to fail at the scales of galactic clusters and above (although Milgrom supports the idea of MOND plus a lower concentration of dark matter particles- I believe that 11eV sterile neutrinos are the current favorite, and if this is accepted then the fit improves dramatically).
    Anyway- I am not an expert in this, but my understanding is that the 11eV sterile neutrinos do not fall naturally from the current expectation for the set of supersymmetric particles.
    Yes, I know that we have not demonstrated the existence of supersymmetry- hopefully the LHC will do that- but if we do then there are viable candidates for the non-baryonic components of dark matter that should have been formed during the Big Bang.
    As an aside, the Fermi Observatory has recently essentially proven that the most popular marriage of MOND with General relativity (TeVeS) is wrong (as well as quantum loop gravity) by demonstrating that the propagation time of a broad range of EM radiation from distant sources is independent of frequency. The MOND advocates are scrambling…

  36. wes george March 5, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    Cohenite said,

    “…humans are here not because conditions are wonderfully suited for us but as a result of chance.”

    Or we’re here because we are wonderfully suited to the conditions, made so through the process of natural selection which is the opposite of chance or entropy. I suppose there is an element of chance at every level of the process. But birds, bats, insects and airplanes all use roughly the same mechanism to fly. So physics acts as a parameter to reign in the number of probably competitive solutions to any challenge for “chance” to select from.

    Wouldn’t it be a more interesting exercise to attempt to debunk or defend ID than BB? If only because the universe might be turtles all the way down and no one could ever prove otherwise at this point in the state of our knowledge. But a debate about ID would go to the heart of just who, what, where and why we exist. Whether the universe is electric and flat or an expanding big bang bubble doesn’t have serious implications for our place with in it. (Well, it might. I think I can offer a proof based upon “novelty” that the universe isn’t infinitely old, for instance.) But the shape of the universe can’t answer the question of whether or not we are central to the purpose of the universe or the Earth or not…which, you know, has more of a human interest factor to it.


  37. physics formulas June 5, 2011 at 3:20 am #

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