RE: Big Bang is Bunk

From: Reason (
Date: Thu Jul 26 2001 - 01:53:31 MDT

Oh gods, where to start with this mess? Let me just say in starting that I
am an astrophysicist (among my other sins, astrophysicist turned


after a few minutes of looking at this, I've decided not to even try.
There's a lot of very good literature out there, but very little of it is in
date. Cosmology is evolving very, very fast at the moment, and has been for
the past ten years or so. It's a good example of a field in flux, data
coming in faster than it can be digested.

So in brief: cosmic expansion and various modified big bang theories fit
observed data and other tested models and theories somewhat better than the
non-expanding universe theories (for example, the cosmic microwave
background anisotropies come from where?) You shouldn't need anything else
to say "ok, this theory fits better, let's run with it and see where we
get." It's certainly way too soon to be casting opinions on the shape and
evolution of the universe in anything but the most general terms.

[And especially not because something feels better. I mean, how many
generations of astronomers and astrophysicists have slaved away so modern
humanity can read horoscopes? Sheesh].

For example, there's a bunch of scientists tackling the sticky problem of
looking for duplicate galaxies -- if they can find matching galaxies that
are in fact the same galaxy at different stages of its life, then that
indicates we're in a very interestly shaped universe. Not much to rule it
out as an option, either, short of looking hard for a long time and not
turning anything up.

After a certain stage, it all begins to seem pretty strange. Ask any
astrophysicist about measurements and accuracy and oddball things that crop
up in the wide field views. You just go with the data. (Ions of the same
charge attract each other in a neutron star magnetosphere. Strange but


(being bad and quoting the whole damn thing below)

> > I actually think the steady-state theory makes a LOT more sense than the
> > entire universe popping into existence in one instant,...
> I'd agree that the Big Bang is bunk.
> The Big Bang rests on the hypothesis that the universe is
> expanding, and in the end the plausibility
> of its claims will depend on whether the universe is expanding.
> If it’s expanding, it was smaller in the past. If you reverse
> the expansion far enough, it
> originates at one point. The Big Bang. The BB is an immediate
> consequence of the idea that the
> universe is expanding.
> The idea that the universe is expanding is built on an
> interpretation of the observations of the
> American astronomer Edwin Hubble, which, when codified, became
> known as “Hubble’s Law.”
> In the 1920's Hubble was conducting the first systematic
> investigation into our neighboring galaxies.
> Using a spectrometer to analyze the light emitted from galaxies,
> he observed a shift to the red end
> of the spectrum in the light coming from distant galaxies. Why
> should galactic light be shifted to
> the red and not the blue portions of the spectrum? Why, for that
> matter, should it be shifted at all?
> An invigorating stab in the dark now followed. The pitch of a
> siren is altered as a police car
> disappears down the street, the sound waves carrying the noise
> stretched by the speed of the car
> itself. This is the familiar Doppler effect. Something similar,
> Hubble entertained, might explain the
> redshift of the galaxies, with the distortions in their spectral
> signature arising as a reflection of
> their recessional velocity as they disappeared into the depths.
> The redshift of a galaxy, cosmologists affirm, and so its
> recessional velocity, is proportional to
> its distance and inversely proportional to its apparent
> brightness or flux. The relationship is known
> as Hubble's law, even though Hubble himself even initially
> regarded the facts at his disposal with
> skepticism. [Hubble's original paper carried the footnote: "It
> is not at all certain that the large
> red shifts in the spectra are to be interpreted as a Doppler
> effect, but for convenience they are
> expressed in terms of velocity and referred to as apparent velocities."]
> Hubble realized that it was possible, in theory, to further test
> the idea that the redshift
> represented recessional velocity. He already had some preliminary
> data from the 100-inch telescope:
> " … redshifts are evidence either of an expanding universe or of
> some hitherto unknown principle of
> nature … Attempt have been made to attain the necessary precision
> with the 100-inch, and the results
> appear to be significant. If they are valid, it seems likely that
> redshifts may not be due to an
> expanding Universe, and much of the current speculation on the
> structure of the Universe may require
> re-examination. The significant data, however, were necessarily
> obtained at the very limit of a
> single instrument … therefore the results must be accepted for
> the present as suggestive rather than
> definitive. The problem is essentially one for the 200-inch.”
> The new 200-inch telescope at Mt Palomar would give him the tools
> to carry out that test.
> “We may predict with confidence that the 200-inch will tell us
> whether the redshifts must be accepted
> as evidence of a rapidly expanding Universe, or attributed to
> some new principle of Nature. Whatever
> the answer may be, the result will be welcomed as another major
> contribution to the exploration of
> the Universe." He carried out the test, and got a definitive
> result, but it was not welcomed.
> In [the aptly named] “The Problem of the Expanding Universe,” in
> the section “The Interpretation of
> the Red Shifts,” Hubble writes:
> “The investigations were designed to determine whether or not red
> shifts represent actual
> recession. In principle, the problem can be solved; a rapidly
> receding light source appears fainter
> than a similar but stationary source at the same momentary
> distance.... For velocities of a few miles
> or a few hundred miles per second, the dimming factor is
> negligible. But for the extremely distant
> nebulae, where the apparent recessions reach tens of thousands of
> miles per second, the effects are
> large enough to be readily observed and measured…Since the
> intrinsic luminosities of nebulae are
> known, their apparent faintness furnishes two scales of distance,
> depending upon whether we assume
> the nebulae to be stationary or receding. If, then, we analyze
> our data, if we map the observable
> region, using first one scale and then the other, we may find
> that the wrong scale leads to
> contradictions or at least to grave difficulties.”
> “Such attempts have been made and one scale does lead to trouble.
> It is the scale which includes the
> dimming factors of recession, which assumes that the universe is
> expanding…All of these data lead to
> the very simple conception of a sensibly infinite, homogeneous
> universe of which the observable
> region is an insignificant sample.” [Edwin Hubble, “The Problem
> of the Expanding Universe,” American
> Scientist, Vol. 30, No. 2, April 1942, (p.111), pp. 99-115.]
> So Hubble, from the outset, doubted that the redshift he observed
> represented recessional velocity.
> He devised a way to further test whether redshifts are evidence
> either of an expanding universe or of
> some hitherto unknown principle of nature. His observations led
> him to conclude these redshifts he
> observed were NOT caused by recessional velocity, but by some other cause.
> While a receding source will cause emitted light to be
> redshifted, there are other possible
> interpretations of this redshift, the main one being the "tired
> light" hypothesis, according to which
> the redshift is produced by light losing energy as it travels
> through space. Hubble came to accept
> that cosmological redshifts for the most part are indicators of
> distance, not velocity. He felt that
> the data was in better agreement with light having a loss of
> energy to the intervening medium
> proportional to the distance it travels through space by what he
> called "a new principle of nature.”
> But a few months later, on 28th September, 1953, Hubble died in
> San Marino, California; and his new
> research was buried with him.
> So much so that a few years later Hubble's work was summarized in
> epitaphs such as the following:
> "More than ten years were to pass (after the expanding hypothesis
> had been put forward by De Sitter)
> before the observations made by the American astronomer Edwin
> Hubble were to establish beyond all
> reasonable doubt that the Universe was expanding" [W. Bonnor, The
> mystery of the expanding universe,
> Boringhieri, 1967, p. 2.] .
> "Hubble's Law. The most serious blow to the stationary state of
> the universe … came from Hubble's
> measurements of the velocity of the galaxies … after a series of
> painstaking measurements, Hubble
> discovered that on average a galaxy recedes from us at a velocity
> proportional to the distance …
> Hubble's discovery immediately destroys the idea of a stationary,
> unchanging universe, Aristotelian
> one might say … So, as is indicated by Hubble's Law, 20 thousand
> million years ago the galaxies were
> presumeably all amassed at the same point", etc. [T. Regge,
> Cronache dell'universo, Boringhieri,
> 1981, p. 44] .
> Hubble's law anchors Big Bang cosmology to the real world.
> But Hubble did not observe the galaxies zooming off into the far
> distance. Their recessional
> velocity, and their distance represents a complicated inference,
> an intellectual leap.
> For more than a decade, the American astronomer Halton Arp has
> drawn the attention of the
> astronomical community to places in the sky where the expected
> relationship between redshift and
> distance simply fails. Embarrassingly enough, many quasars seem
> bound to nearby galaxies. The results
> are in plain sight: there on the photographic plate is the
> smudged record of a galaxy, and there next
> to it is a quasar, the points of light lined up and looking for
> all the world as if they were equally
> luminous.
> These observations do not comport with standard Big Bang
> cosmology. If quasars have very large
> redshifts, they must (according to Hubble's law) be very far
> away; so if they seem nearby, then they
> must be FANTASTICALLY luminous! As bright as 1000 simultaneous
> supernovas! Yet their temperature
> remains that of ordinary stars as exhibited by emission spectra
> of metallic ions that can only exist
> at a limited range of temperature. They are known to be about
> stellar size since they vary in
> brightness on a scale of a few minutes to seconds. By insisting
> on interpreting quasar red-shifts as
> indicating great velocity and great distance, cosmologists have
> created a monster. How can they stay
> so bright at such a low temperature in such a small volume? They
> can't. They must be nearby, and
> their redshift is NOT due to their velocity. The tight tidy
> series of inferences that has gone into
> Big Bang cosmology, like leverage in commodity trading, works
> beautifully in reverse.
> The American mathematician I.E. Segal and his associates have
> studied the evidence for galactic
> recessional velocity over the course of twenty years, with
> results that are sharply at odds with
> predictions of Big Bang cosmology. Segal is a distinguished
> mathematician, one of the creators of
> modern function theory and a member of the National Academy of
> Sciences. He has incurred the
> indignation of the astrophysical community by suggesting broadly
> that their standards of statistical
> rigor would shame a sociologist.[!] “Big Bang cosmology,” he
> writes, “owes its acceptance as a
> physical principle primarily to the uncritical and premature
> representation of [the redshift-distance
> relationship] as an empirical fact."
> Hubble's law embodies a general hypothesis of Big Bang
> cosmology--namely, that the universe is
> expanding--and while the law cannot be established by
> observation, observation can establish that it
> may be false. A catalogue of 780 references to redshift
> observations inexplicable by the Doppler
> effect was published in 1981 by K. J. Reboul under the title,
> "Untrivial Redshifts: A Bibliographical
> Catalogue." Many other papers indicate that non-velocity
> redshifts have been observed, for example a
> lengthy 1989 review article by the Indian astrophysicist J. V.
> Narlikar. [J. V. Narlikar, 1989,
> "Noncosmological Redshifts", Space Science Reviews, Vol: 50.]
> Recent astronomical discoveries pose an additional and very
> serious problem for the Big Bang theory.
> Larger and larger structures are being found to exist at greater
> and greater redshifts, indicating
> their existence in the increasingly distant past. In 1988, Simon
> Lilly of the university of Hawaii
> reported the discovery of a mature galaxy at the enormous
> redshift of 3.4; that is, the amount of the
> redshift for any spectral line from the galaxy is 340 per cent of
> the line's proper wavelength (Lilly
> 1988). This puts the galaxy so far in time that the Big Bang
> scheme does not allow sufficient time
> for its formation! At a news report on Lilly's work in Sky &
> Telescope expressed it, "The appearance
> of a mature galaxy so soon after the Big Bang poses a serious
> threat . . ." (Aug. 1988, p. 124).
> In 1989 came the discovery of the "Great Wall" of galaxies, a
> sheet of Galaxies 500 million
> light-years long, 200 million light-years wide, and approximately
> 15 million light-years thick, with
> the dimensions of the structure being limited only by the scale
> of the survey (Geller and Huchra
> 1989). It is located between 200 and 300 million light-years from
> Earth. In an interview with the
> Boston Globe (Nov. 17 1989), Margaret Geller of the
> Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
> offered some frank comments on the implications of her discovery:
> “The size of the structure
> indicates that in present theories of the formation of the
> universe something is really wrong that
> makes a big difference,…No known force could produce a structure
> this big in the time since the
> universe was formed", She said.
> Other interesting observations regarding the reshift are the so
> called K-effect, and our sun’s excess
> red-shift.
> IMHO, the universe is infinite in space and time.
> Hubble was right, the redshifts he observed were due to some
> other factor than recessional velocity.
> Pat Fallon

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