What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

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What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:09 am

Found this on Youtube today. "Published on Mar 2, 2016." Found it interesting.

So I'm sharing it here!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDmKLXVFJzk
I think I found the very last explanation to be the most interesting, especially starting at 12:21 -- he makes a point I've tried to make myself in the past: "The Big Bang theory describes a series of events that happened to the universe following its existence in an extremely hot, dense state. We have a ton of evidence that the universe once was in such a state. Perhaps our understanding of this state will eventually lead to a theory of the origin of the universe, but the Big Bang theory as it stands does not claim to explain such an origin."

However, this understanding of the definition of the Big Bang theory is often directly contradicted by other knowledgeable people who are discussing it, such as this article on the Steady State Theory, where the author explains that "[t[he Big Bang theory states that the Universe originated from an incredibly hot and dense state 13.7 billion years ago and has been expanding and cooling ever since."

Or this article that attempts to define the Big Bang theory with the words:

The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago....

...After its initial appearance, it apparently inflated (the "Big Bang"), expanded and cooled, going from very, very small and very, very hot, to the size and temperature of our current universe....

This last explanation seems to contradict itself when it says the Big Bang theory is "an effort to explain what happened during" the creation of the universe, but also says the inflation that happened after its initial appearance is what's known as the "Big Bang".

Likewise, this website describes the Big Bang as "the leading explanation about how the universe began. At its simplest, it talks about the universe as we know it starting with a small singularity, then inflating over the next 13.8 billion years to the cosmos that we know today." The words "began" and "starting" can both be mistaken for the word "creation", especially when the article also uses the term "the universe's birth".

Because of the way these things are worded, people often think the Big Bang is about the origin of, well, itself. But as I have always understood it, it's simply the explanation of how the already-existing singularity expanded into what is now the Universe. This means I frequently end up "talking across" other people who take the Big Bang to mean "nothing becoming something", while I'm explaining how it's about "the expansion of the something into everything we know".
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:13 am

AHA! The forum tried to EAT MY POST by telling me the webpage was not available when I tried to preview what I'd typed! Luckily I had copied my entire post into the copy/paste buffer before trying to preview it, because when I back-clicked to recover it, the post had been blanked out.

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Take THAT, Bembridge scholars!
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby gorgeous » Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:14 pm

the show is not funny
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:05 am

Good save Gord. Hate it when that happens......

My own non-scientific understanding of "the singularity" is that it has not "always existed" as that is part of the mystery? Likewise, it is not "small." All part of "quantum mechanics" with quarks coming into existence in the vacuum of space and then flashing out of existence. There is indeed "nothing" and then "something." The singularity is like that in my understanding..... all to the ultimate point that it is a mystery.

I agree the terminology gets a bit mixed, confused, or inconsistent.....which only means that the terms need to be defined if there is not a general consensus by those who actually study the field. I think "the Big Bang" is the label put on the singularity coming into existence and expanding. I think inflation took place after the singularity came into existence and is all part of the Big Bang. We are now accelerating apart ...think I've read thats one of the mysteries...have we always been accelerating? And so forth. I suppose the Big Bang could be defined as what occurred AFTER the singularity came into existence, or after the inflation? All depends on what you want to emphasize?

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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:59 pm

Nature doesn't make singularities. Though I can see how it might help tie up some hypostatization's in terms of the Pythagorean maths.

Ever since things like dark matter etc started to be taken too seriously, rather than being seen as problems with the scalability of gravity to large scales, cosmology is largely a joke to me, I don't really waste much time with it anymore, especially after I read Mike Disneys published papers about it's unique and weird (quasi religious) position as a scientific field.

It's a weak form of belief systems rather than science imo. The below papers are very easy to understand.

The Case Against Cosmology http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0009020

It is argued that some of the recent claims for cosmology are grossly overblown. Cosmology rests on a very small database: it suffers from many fundamental difficulties as a science (if it is a science at all) whilst observations of distant phenomena are difficult to make and harder to interpret. It is suggested that cosmological inferences should be tentatively made and sceptically received.


MODERN COSMOLOGY: SCIENCE OR FOLK TALE? http://astroweb.case.edu/ssm/USNA287/anticosmology7.pdf

In a survey for non-astrophysicists we compare the number of independent measurements which support Big Bang Cosmology, with the number of auxiliary hypotheses such as Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Inflation, and their associated free parameters, needed to shore it up. We find such parameters still outnumber the relevant observations, with no real sign of an improving trend over time. Precision, which is improving, doesn’t necessarily guarantee the soundness of the interpretation. Noncosmologists are thus entitled to be sceptical of such a weakly supported superstructure, which is currently composed of 5 separate theories piled on top of one another.


I prefer plasma cosmology, since 99% of observable matter in the universe is in the plasma state.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:05 pm

Shouting my mouth off without even watching the video or reading the replies yet. Need to stop doing that :oops:
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Tue Mar 08, 2016 8:58 pm

zeuzzz wrote:Nature doesn't make singularities.

Da fuuuuuuck??
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:43 pm

I'm still right though :P Just being pedantic. "As the eminent American physicist Kip Thorne describes it, it is "the point where all laws of physics break down"." aka we don't really have a clue, but check out this equation which tends to infinity at it's limits. Just bugs me that we have only known the speed of light on the surface of this planet for 100 or so years, the two values are still rarely obtained for each method of measuring it, thus it was fixed by definition instead of measurement a while back, and yet we assume it's a constant in all times and all places in the universe to make cosmology make sense. Also that gravity scales perfectly based on the mass we infer from the mass of the Earth + sun using perturbation theory alone. "It seems likely, then, that, by its very nature, we will never be able to fully describe or even understand the singularity at the centre of a black hole." I agree with that too. Which is why cosmology bores me a bit now.

I'd rather study plasma physics here on Earth than stretch current models way past their probable scope.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:55 pm

zeuzzz wrote:I'm still right though :P Just being pedantic. "As the eminent American physicist Kip Thorne describes it, it is "the point where all laws of physics break down"." aka we don't really have a clue

No, we have a clue. And you're still wrong. "The singularity is the point where all laws of physics break down" does not mean "no singularities". What you've one is gone from "we don't understand it" (which isn't very accurate) to "therefore it doesn't happen".
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:15 pm

In maths there is a singularity, sure. Just like there are lines. In reality ... not so sure. The issue is when you start assigning mathematical constructs physical real world properties, reifying them. Many people make similar mistakes with field lines, such as assigning 'magnetic reconnection' reconnection rates due to modelling, when the field wavelengths are arbitrary constructs. Which also bugs me. Current disruption makes more sense, as it actually uses physical particles.

Anyone who knows Maxwell's laws of electromagnetics knows that electric field and magnetic fields are two sides of the same coin.

Image

Yet depending on the magnetohydrodynamic modelling it becomes far more complex, and you get the paradox of two terms that should be equivalent leading to two totally different approaches, depending on which one of the two (magnetic field and bulk plasma flow [bu], or electric field combined with the current density [ej]) you use. Two largely synonymous models in terms of Maxwells laws yield two totally conceptually different approaches to modelling the same phenomenon.

The magnetic field line models for magnetic reconnection fail conceptually to map onto the experimental evidence neatly, even though it is by far the most widely used model. Current disruption models make a lot more sense conceptually, even though are rarely used. It's just a pet peeve of mine.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:56 am

zeuzzz wrote:In maths there is a singularity, sure. Just like there are lines.

Maths defines things in order to understand them, it does not create them. Physics does not say "there are lines", but it does say "there are singularities". Maybe the physics is wrong, but you don't know that, so you can't say "there are no singularities despite being predicted by general relativity, the best models we have" without making a claim based on ignorance.

You can argue that maybe there are no singularities in black holes, but you can't outright say "the universe does not create singularities" when the physics says "apparently it does".
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:15 pm

Gord wrote:
zeuzzz wrote:In maths there is a singularity, sure. Just like there are lines.

Maths defines things in order to understand them, it does not create them. Physics does not say "there are lines", but it does say "there are singularities".


To me this is largely the same difference. Maths is used kind of like a scaffolding to which physics can use experiments to test. When it comes to things like singularities, black holes and other mathematical constructs I think that a lot of cosmologists start departing far too much from experimental evidence. They hypostatize their mathematics to weird limits way beyond the limits of any currently designed instrumentality and often draw even weirder conclusions from that.

Model away, I've no qualms with people guessing, but they should be considered as nothing much more than that, there are more productive ways to spend time. As Disney said in the links above, this should be the true sceptical way to approach these cosmological inferences.

"It is argued that some of the recent claims for cosmology are grossly overblown. Cosmology rests on a very small database: it suffers from many fundamental difficulties as a science (if it is a science at all) whilst observations of distant phenomena are difficult to make and harder to interpret. It is suggested that cosmological inferences should be tentatively made and sceptically received.

Maybe the physics is wrong, but you don't know that, so you can't say "there are no singularities despite being predicted by general relativity, the best models we have" without making a claim based on ignorance.


That's a bit hyperbolic, I am not saying physics is wrong, far from it, from what we can measure here on Earth physics is ostensibly correct and extremely powerful to large degrees of significant figures in many cases. I'm saying that efforts to try to understand such huge questions as the origin of the entire universe are misguided, and largely a waste of intellectual time. Knowledge provided by cosmological modelling cannot be as explicative and secure as knowledge gained by laboratory physics or analytical chemistry. That's just a fact. Sure give it a go, but the conclusions should not be seen as much more than guesses and stories made within the axoims of the currently fashionable cosmogony.

Science as we have practised it in the west is less 400 or so years old. It's pretty arrogant to assume that we have gotten even a shadow of the truth towards some kind of perfect modelling of the cosmos. Which is the main beef I have with a lot of cosmologists.

You can argue that maybe there are no singularities in black holes, but you can't outright say "the universe does not create singularities" when the physics says "apparently it does".


I would dispute that the physics says that the universe creates black holes. The maths implies it does, that I can get behind, if anything the experimental evidence from physics implies that singularities do not exist, as we have not ever created or tested one in any kind of controlled environment here on Earth. Being a kind of experimental evidence fetishist is an approach to cosmology I've adopted over the years, an approach that seems to work when approaching many overblown cosmological press releases and pop sci articles.

Have you read Disneys publications? They are very informative and will help you understand my perspective and why I'm saying it.

Given statements emanating from some cosmologists today one could be forgiven for assuming that the solution to some of the great problems of the subject, even “the origin of the Universe” lie just around the corner. As an example of this triumphalist approach consider the following conclusion from Hu et al. [1] to a preview of the results they expect from spacecraft such as MAP and PLANCK designed to map the Cosmic Background Radiations: “. . . we will establish the cosmological model as securely as the Standard Model of elementary particles. We will then know as much, or even more, about the early Universe and its contents as we do about the fundamental constituents of matter”.

We believe the most charitable thing that can be said of such statements is that they are naive in the extreme and betray a complete lack of understanding of history, of the huge difference between an observational and an experimental science, and of the peculiar limitations of cosmology as a scientific discipline. By building up expectations that cannot be realised, such statements do a disservice not only to astronomy and to particle physics but they could ultimately do harm to the wider respect in which the whole scientific approach is held. As such, they must not go unchallenged.

It is very questionable whether the study of any phenomenon that is not repeatable can call itself a science at all. It would be sad however to abandon the whole fascinating area to the priesthood. But if we are going to lend this unique subject any kind of scientific respectability we have to look at all its claims with a great circumspection and listen to its proponents with even greater scepticism than is usually necessary. This is particularly true when the gulf between observers and theoreticians is as wide as it usually is here. Either side may be more inclined to accept the claims of the other than they should. As an extra-galactic observer addressing a mostly theoretical audience I want Physics and Astronomy, Cardiff University, Cardiff CF24 3YB, Wales, UK 1to emphasise the very many caveats that should always be attached to the observational side of this field. I do so as a friend and admirer of George Ellis who has one of the few minds capable of bridging the gulf.

[......]

Conclusion

Of course we would all love to know of the fate of the Universe, just as we’d love to know if God exists. If we expect science to provide the answers though, we may have to be very patient - and literally wait for eternity. Alas professional cosmologists cannot afford to wait that long. For that reason the word ‘cosmologist’ should be expunged from the scientific dictionary and returned to the priesthood where it properly belongs.

I’m not suggesting that cosmology itself should be abandoned. Mostly by accident it has made some fascinating, if faltering progress over the centuries. And if we are patient and build our instruments to explore the Universe in all the crevices of parameter space, new clues will surely come to hand, as they have in the past, largely by accident. But we should not spend too many of our astronomical resources in trying to answer grandiose questions which may, in all probability, be unanswerable. For instance we must not build the Next Generation Space Telescope as if it was solely a cosmological machine. We should only do that if we are confident of converging on “the truth”. If we build it to look through many windows we may yet find the surprising clues which lead us off on a new path along the way.

Above all we must not overclaim for this fascinating subject which, it can be argued, is not a proper science at all. Rutherford for instance said “Don’t let me hear anyone use the word ‘Universe’ in my department”. Shouldn’t we scientists be saying something like this to the general public:

It is not likely that we primates gazing through bits of glass for a century or two will dissemble the architecture and history of infinity. But if we don’t try we won’t get anywhere. Therefore we professionals do the best we can to fit the odd clues we have into some kind of plausible story. That is how science works, and that is the spirit in which our cosmological speculations should be treated. Don’t be impressed by our complex machines or our arcane mathematics. They have been used to build plausible cosmic stories before - which we had to discard afterwards in the face of improving evidence. The likelihood must be that such revisions will have to occur again and again and again.

I apologise for such a highly opinionated attack, but it does appear to me that the pendulum has swung much too far the other way. Surely the ‘burden of proof’ ought to rest squarely on the proponents of what will always be a fascinating but suspect subject.


If you want to get more into specifics about what is wrong with the Big Bang theory I would love to. There's a wealth of problems with it. And also a fair amount of alternative theories that use the same data just come to different conclusions.

This other paper is a good start to understanding some of the main shortcomings with the Big Bang theory, and how it relates to other scientific disciplines if held up to the same scrutiny: https://www.astro.umd.edu/~ssm/ASTR622/ ... ology7.pdf
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:28 pm

zeuzzz wrote:
Gord wrote:
zeuzzz wrote:In maths there is a singularity, sure. Just like there are lines.

Maths defines things in order to understand them, it does not create them. Physics does not say "there are lines", but it does say "there are singularities".

To me this is largely the same difference.

:facepalm:
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:31 pm

Explain. I posted quite a lot material above.

Have you read Disneys publications?
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:32 pm

I think it would be a waste of my time. Maybe later. Right now, I'm going to go watch some Youtube videos -- this one just hit my subscription box 18 hours ago:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcBjibuHxEk
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:19 pm

Interesting about the homogeneity of the CMB. Still not sure how it relates to the Big Bang, there are theories about the local production and scattering of the microwave background that are atsrophysics based, rather than cosmological, due to the fractal distribution of scaleable plasma filaments that can isotropize that part of the spectrum in insterstellar regions. But they start to get complex.

Also another thing that smells of a posteriori curve fitting to observed data is the advanced LIGO experiment recently that, apparently, proved gravitational waves. Apparently just after the project was up and running and was finally ready to detect such a wave two super massive black holes gave the exact result they were looking for. I'm remaining skeptical, if we see certain oscillations and fluctuations in any set of data we can always model them fit a mathematical curve to the data by least squares fit or some other criterion. But then to claim that this model proves that gravitational waves exist, where no in situ observation has been made (or is possible), is logically unsupportable. I'll take it more seriously once the events become statistically significant over a long time period.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Thu Mar 10, 2016 4:41 pm

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar ... 9813001068
I review some theoretical ideas in cosmology different from the standard “Big Bang”: the quasi-steady state model, the plasma cosmology model, non-cosmological redshifts, alternatives to non-baryonic dark matter and/or dark energy, and others. Cosmologists do not usually work within the framework of alternative cosmologies because they feel that these are not at present as competitive as the standard model. Certainly, they are not so developed, and they are not so developed because cosmologists do not work on them. It is a vicious circle. The fact that most cosmologists do not pay them any attention and only dedicate their research time to the standard model is to a great extent due to a sociological phenomenon (the “snowball effect” or “groupthink”). We might well wonder whether cosmology, our knowledge of the Universe as a whole, is a science like other fields of physics or a predominant ideology.

Full paper: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/10110/1/soc-cosmo.pdf
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:03 am

I am not posting this to be argumentative Gord. I really recommend you read Disneys papers, as they are not fringe theories, or crackpot ideas, he is a professor that has tenure at university. You kind of set up this trajectory for me to comment on when you chose the title of this thread.

Meh, I miss the misguided cosmologists at JREF.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Poodle » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:32 am

zeuzzz wrote:... Also another thing that smells of a posteriori curve fitting to observed data is the advanced LIGO experiment recently that, apparently, proved gravitational waves. Apparently just after the project was up and running and was finally ready to detect such a wave two super massive black holes gave the exact result they were looking for ...


No. Those two super massive black holes did their stuff 1.3 billion years ago. We just got lucky. Even before LIGO, we knew of a pair which are due to 'collide' in about 100,000 years. There are undoubtedly others - lots of them. They may be common. It may well be that there's one every week.

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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby zeuzzz » Fri Mar 11, 2016 12:45 am

I hope so. It would at least give a bit more scientific weight to the silly and naive pop sci articles that have been circulating of late.
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Re: What’s Wrong With the Big Bang Theory?

Postby Gord » Wed Mar 16, 2016 11:35 am

Poodle wrote:
zeuzzz wrote:... Also another thing that smells of a posteriori curve fitting to observed data is the advanced LIGO experiment recently that, apparently, proved gravitational waves. Apparently just after the project was up and running and was finally ready to detect such a wave two super massive black holes gave the exact result they were looking for ...

No. Those two super massive black holes did their stuff 1.3 billion years ago. We just got lucky. Even before LIGO, we knew of a pair which are due to 'collide' in about 100,000 years. There are undoubtedly others - lots of them. They may be common. It may well be that there's one every week.

Also, the experiment wasn't up and running yet, it was still being set up. Their detectors were being calibrated when they both registered hits. The first scheduled run wasn't for another four days. Since then, they have had more "candidate signals" -- I don't think they've released their findings yet, so I don't know how many of them were gravity wave detections, but as they continue to adjust the instruments up to maximum sensitivity, they expect it's possible they'll be detecting up to one event per day.
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