Another 'settled science' topic is not so settled after all – Big Bang theory questioned

We’ve all heard of the claim of “settled science” when it comes to global warming/climate change, and we’ve all heard of the “Big Bang Theory”, and I’m not just talking about the popular TV show. The scientific theory goes all the way back to 1927.
This is an artist's concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development. Credit: NASA
This is an artist’s concept of the metric expansion of space, where space (including hypothetical non-observable portions of the universe) is represented at each time by the circular sections. Note on the left the dramatic expansion (not to scale) occurring in the inflationary epoch, and at the center the expansion acceleration. The scheme is decorated with WMAP images on the left and with the representation of stars at the appropriate level of development. Credit: NASA
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model for the birth of the universe. It states that at some moment all of space was contained in a single point from which the Universe has been expanding ever since. Modern measurements place this moment at approximately 13.8 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the universe. After the initial expansion, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow the formation of subatomic particles, and later simple atoms. Giant clouds of these primordial elements later coalesced through gravity to form stars and galaxies. The Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for the initial conditions of the Universe; rather, it describes and explains the general evolution of the Universe going forward from that point on. (Source: Wikipedia)
Now, it seems there’s a challenge to this ‘settled’ science, and a new quantum equation predicts the universe has no beginning.
(Phys.org) —The universe may have existed forever, according to a new model that applies quantum correction terms to complement Einstein’s theory of general relativity. The model may also account for dark matter and dark energy, resolving multiple problems at once.

The widely accepted age of the , as estimated by , is 13.8 billion years. In the beginning, everything in existence is thought to have occupied a single infinitely dense point, or . Only after this point began to expand in a “Big Bang” did the universe officially begin.

Although the Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics of general relativity, some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity.

“The Big Bang singularity is the most serious problem of general relativity because the laws of physics appear to break down there,” Ahmed Farag Ali at Benha University and the Zewail City of Science and Technology, both in Egypt, told Phys.org.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-02-big-quantum-equation-universe.html#jCp

h/t to Rick McKee

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Alan Robertson
February 10, 2015 1:07 pm

Breathe in, Breathe out…

LarryFine
Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 11, 2015 12:21 am

Perhaps the laws break down there because they’re supposed to break down there. In other words, perhaps the universe sprang from nothing. Science can only study nature, and it appears that nature began to exist from nothing (which science cannot study).
Scientists are supposed to follow the data to the best explanation, no matter where that leads. They aren’t supposed to let their worldview’s interfere, and it’s an arrogant worldview that leads some to claim that science should be able to explain everything.

skorrent1
Reply to  LarryFine
February 11, 2015 11:05 am

Perhaps the “laws” didn’t “break down there”. Perhaps the “universal constants” that we have measured for only a few centuries are not “constant” over billions of years. The “constant” speed of light comes to mind, which may have slowed a bit even during our time of measuring.
My biggest question with BBT, however, is that with uniform expansion from an infinitesimal point, all energy/particles would have only radial velocity/momentum. Aggregation in a uniform medium would not change that. So, looking at the universe we observe, where did all the angular momentum come from? Am I missing something?

Reply to  LarryFine
February 11, 2015 8:25 pm

skorrent1 February 11, 2015 at 11:05 am:
“Perhaps the “laws” didn’t “break down there”. Perhaps the “universal constants” that we have measured for only a few centuries are not “constant” over billions of years.”
You should maybe read some of the research of Ruert Sheldrake, or listen to some of his YouTubes. He specifically went to the British office of Metrology and aslked about the universal constants, and he found out that they have not even been constant in OUR time, much less over billions of years. When he pointed it out to the archivist, he was told that that he had uncovered one of their dark secrets.
Hey, don’t look at me. Sheldrake is the one who found it out…LOL

Reply to  LarryFine
February 11, 2015 8:26 pm

Sorry. Typo. That is Rupert Sheldrake.

Duster
Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 11, 2015 10:32 am

If you want to get a feeling for clique science outside climate science look up Halton Arp who compiled the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, a standard reference for various unusual galaxies. Over time, he noticed that “high” and “low” red-shift objects seemed to paired more than statistically likely and suggested that the cosmological red shift might NOT be explained by an expanding universe. In particular he noted more than one Seyfert galaxy of moderate to low redshift that appeared on photographic plates to be physically linked to high red shifted quasars. That observation called into question not only the concept of cosmological red shift but the distance and intrinsic brightness of quasars.
The question could have been settled by additional observation, but Arp’s position led to an inability to obtain instrument time and funding as well problems getting things published (how familiar is that?). He finally moved from the US to the Max Planck Institute in Germany. He died in 2013.

Reply to  Duster
February 11, 2015 7:50 pm

Halton Arp is one of those scientists who will be proven prescient long after his death. One day, textbooks and documentaries will point out how his contemporaries were idiots for not listening to him. Perhaps that day will come in my lifetime.

Lyon
Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 13, 2015 7:57 pm

Modern day science…” give me one miracle and I’ll explain the rest.”

February 10, 2015 1:08 pm

What intuitive minds have always known…..

Reply to  Ben D
February 10, 2015 4:43 pm

Pssssst, please…

Reply to  Ben D
February 10, 2015 7:00 pm

If it doesn’t seem logical, it probably is logical.

Reply to  Tom Trevor
February 10, 2015 7:02 pm

I meant it probably isn’t logical

John Silver
Reply to  Tom Trevor
February 11, 2015 12:14 am

Tom, your first version seems more logical.

george e. smith
Reply to  Ben D
February 10, 2015 7:01 pm

Well rats !
Does that mean I have to forget all of that interesting Archeo-physics stuff that was supposed to have happened in the first 10^-43 seconds after the big bang, before the universe just became blah boring ??
Personally, I have never been comfortable with the notion of “inflation”, and I’m also very uncomfortable with both “dark matter” and particularly “dark energy.”
So they explain in some measure what is observed (apparently), but yet we never find either one of them any place around here.
But I’m not sure this “new” concept is necessarily a “steady state” universe of the kind that Fred Hoyle championed.
Well maybe somebody will make some sense out of it.
Remember scientific theories don’t have to make common sense; and they don’t even have to be unique.
All they have to do, and they MUST do that, is explain what we actually observe, and do it consistently in every case; no matter what.
G

Editor
Reply to  george e. smith
February 11, 2015 5:53 am

Or, if I remember correctly from Bible school.
“I am the Lord thy God. Was, is and always shall be forever and ever world without end amen”.

Ian W
Reply to  george e. smith
February 11, 2015 7:16 am

Dark matter is one of the epicycles added to make the hypothesis work in view of contrary observations like constants that aren’t. In less grand areas it would be called a fudge factor.

Russ Wood
Reply to  george e. smith
February 12, 2015 2:37 am

I keep on thinking – what if the ‘aether’ theory is correct, and there’s something in intergalactic space that slows down photons, thus red-shifting them? It’s a sort-of Occam’s Law application to everything that cosmologists have had to invent, in order to explain observations. I know that the Michelson-Morley experiment did no show any ‘aether’ effect, but…

phodges
Reply to  george e. smith
February 12, 2015 10:43 am

Russ, according to Einstein himself GR resurrected the “ether”-
www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk/Extras/Einstein_ether.html
Tom van Flandern had some great stuff questioning the canonization of Einstein, GR and the Big Bang-
metaresearch.org/
Personally I see Einsteins work as colossal contributions to physics, however said canonization has stopped any progress in classical physics for almost 100 years. They are theories, not reality. Modern acolytes are confusing the map for the territory. They are to be used, not believed. My favorite, and what I consider the most basic and cogent criticism of SR and GR-
http://www.amazon.com/Euclid-Einstein-Parallel-Critique-Metageometry/dp/125877271X/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1423766351&sr=8-8&keywords=einstein+or+euclid
It is ironic but sad the contemporary physicists have given over empiricism for idealism.

rw
Reply to  george e. smith
February 13, 2015 12:57 pm

Keitho,
I think you better go back and read the Book of Genesis. (it certainly seems consistent with the Big Bang theory to me.) (You may be recalling Aristotle’s ideas without realizing it.)

Editor
Reply to  rw
February 13, 2015 11:32 pm

Cheers rw, but that is the point I thought I was making. Belief in BBT by so many avowed atheists is just ironic in my opinion. I need to make my points clearer I guess.

February 10, 2015 1:09 pm

The smaller the universe, the smaller the rulers.

Reply to  Sam Grove
February 10, 2015 6:10 pm

And the slower the time .
Hiiseyin Yilmaz whose monograph DT Campbell did me no favors by passing on to me in my terminal days in grad school , and who made such simple observations as that we live in a flow from high frequency to low , and founded perhaps the first computer speech recognition hardware company , proposed adding a stress tensor , similar to ones in other basic relationships , to the expression for general relativity . See http://www.gravityresearchfoundation.org/pdf/awarded/1976/yilmaz.pdf which I just googled .
This beyond my understanding of the field , but apparently the emendation — which is the sort of nuance typical of the evolution of physics , eg , from Newton to Einstein , where the prior is a limiting case of the latter — sees the universe as more exponential and removes the singularities like black holes and big bangs .
Certainly the current state of physics is pretty ugly with dark matter and dark energy in addition to the singularities .

Reply to  Bob Armstrong
February 10, 2015 7:36 pm

The more stressed I get the tensor I am.

bones
Reply to  Bob Armstrong
February 10, 2015 8:34 pm

Thanks for the link to Yilmaz’ essay. He was an unrecognized genius. His correction for Einstein’s general relativity must be adopted if we are ever to get away from the “dark energy – non-baryonic dark matter” BS and reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.

mpainter
February 10, 2015 1:09 pm

The Big Bang theory is cosmological arm waving. Surprising that it has endured for so long. Cosmology is all theory with the most slender, tenuous support and sometimes no support at all except for some fanciful mathematics. Climate scientists have a lot in common with cosmologists.

Reply to  mpainter
February 10, 2015 2:42 pm

“Climate scientists have a lot in common with cosmologists.” ~ mpainter
Agreed. And they both have a lot in common with cosmetologists.

Bruce
Reply to  markstoval
February 10, 2015 8:24 pm

Putting lipstick on pigs!

tonyc
Reply to  mpainter
February 10, 2015 2:56 pm

That is incorrect. The development and testing of the model has followed a very rigorous scientific method. It explains the current observations, it makes testable predictions, and those prediction which have been tested have been correct, or have led to tuning of the model. While some astronomers have in the past claimed this is settled, they have been proven wrong. There are still observations which are not explained by the model, so the model is at best incomplete and could still be shown to be completely wrong. The difference between cosmology and climatology is that one is science and the other is political.

mpainter
Reply to  tonyc
February 10, 2015 3:10 pm

I am correct. Cosmologists have been spouting theoretical fluff ever since when and they are no closer to the truth now than at the beginning. Revisionisim is the next phase. No great hopes there, either.

Cyber
Reply to  tonyc
February 10, 2015 4:14 pm

I’m still firmly leaning towards the current theory because while this new “theory” is interesting, I’ll need to see a whole lot more before thinking it has a chance to supplant the BB theory. This isn’t the first time someone has challenged the status quo only to be found to be wanting.

Reply to  tonyc
February 10, 2015 8:03 pm

Cosmology and cosmologists in general remain true to science as shown by the BICEP2 retraction. As long as a scientist is ready to remain skeptical about his/her interpretations of data, then they remain as scientists.
Climate scientists who have refused to accept that the data says CO2 sensitivity is less than 2ºC have wandered off the reservation of science, into political-class servitude for a paycheck. And the GC climate models are garbage.

Alx
Reply to  tonyc
February 11, 2015 7:49 am

There is a story about a blind man who was brought to an elephant and given his tail to touch, the blind man said, obviously an elephant is like a snake. Apparently the blind-man was familiar with snakes.
The story shows that making observations does not mean we have made or are able to make all relevant observations and that our conclusions are limited by past experience.
I am afraid cosmology is like the blind man brought to the elephant.

David A
Reply to  tonyc
February 12, 2015 4:18 am

Tony C says, “The difference between cosmology and climatology is that one is science and the other is political”
==================================
In general I agree. While theoretical physicists have political battles for relatively trivial amounts of money, the political forces of CAGW want global power and an ever greater tax burden on the common man. If the “C” in CAGW was removed, and there is no consensus in support of the “C”, then climate science becomes almost as academic (and poorly funded) as theoretical physics.

Editor
Reply to  tonyc
February 14, 2015 7:26 am

Alx – thanks for reminding me of the blind man and elephant story in this context. I am sceptical of BBT (NB. That’s not the same as saying it’s wrong]. It seems that we have only touched the tip of the tail of the universe, and BBT predictions are working so far because only the tip of the tail has been used for testing them. [Correction : they aren’t really working, because dark matter etc have had to be invented to make them work. As someone pointed out recently, the ‘standard model’ has far too many components to be correct.]
So we now have to wait for new and better theories.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  mpainter
February 10, 2015 4:52 pm

What really infuriates me is the circular reasoning among cosmologists. All observations are interpreted in light of the big-bang theory (BBT) and are then used to demonstrate the accuracy of BBT.
We just do not know. BBT has some major intellectuals issues and the creation of the inflation phase and dark matter and dark energy are just adding epicycles to our lack of knowledge. Just like climate science.

Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
February 10, 2015 5:19 pm

However, it is impossible to prove or disprove the BBT. It really doesn’t matter because we have to deal with the way the universe is now and where it is going. There is so much about the universe we don’t know.

old construction worker
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
February 10, 2015 6:57 pm

Nothing is faster then the speed of light except during the inflation phase then something was faster then the speed of light. Does that make sense? No really. Does that make sense.

wyn palmer
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
February 11, 2015 3:02 am

Sorry, but you are wrong. BBT was developed based on unexplained observations- red-shifting of distant objects, the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) and its distribution of amplitude versus angular displacement, the proportion of light elements in the universe, the large scale structure of the universe etc. etc. Dark matter, cosmic inflation, and dark energy were added to the BBT to explain some of the details, and has been said, make testable predictions- predictions that have been largely proven (for example, the higher order acoustic peaks in the CMBR). There may be a better explanation but if so it has to successfully at least satisfy all of the tests that the BBT explains. Intuition be damned. Neither GR nor quantum mechanics are intuitive and yet they seem to be correct descriptions of reality and satisfy every test that has been made of them.

george e. smith
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
February 11, 2015 1:43 pm

Does the BBT actually conjecture that there even was EM radiation, at the time of the Big Bang, so how did it make it through the dark ages, when the whole universe was opaque ??
And there weren’t any humans, so there wasn’t any “light” till we got here to create it in our heads.
But there was plenty of EM radiation to travel at (c).
I don’t understand any of that especially how “space” itself expanded; but Dr S says it is “consistent with” observations, and that’s what really matters.
But it is disconcerting to not be able to find any dark matter or dark energy by some other means than the phenomena that they were invented to explain, like the angular momentum of the galaxies and the inadequate amount of “seeable” matter to explain that.
But if a new theory can also explain what Dr Leif sees, and eliminate DM and DE, and inflation, well that would be good too. Unless someone comes up with some independent test for those nuisance items, that seem to be necessary.
On this I don’t even have an opinion, so please don’t use for your PhD thesis.
G

TobiasN
Reply to  Robert of Ottawa
February 11, 2015 4:33 pm

my impression is that the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) was originally expected to be clumpy (non-isotropic), reflecting the distribution of galactic superclusters.
Measured from Earth it was not.
In the 1989 a satellite (“COBE”) was sent up to measuring CBR properly in all directions. When they got the data, ASFAIK it seemed to indicate the CBR was too isotropic to have originated from a Big Bang. ie, not what they expected.
But then some cosmologists used supercomputers to find variability in the seemingly smooth data. They found some tiny amount, said they it was proof of the Big Bang, which got them the Nobel Prize in 2006. It’s got a cool name, too: “Wrinkles in Time”.
I suppose the Big Bang happened, but it still seems some of their explanations have an after-the-fact quality. And the use of supercomputers, we know, can be fraught with confirmation bias.
And there still are a few anomolies in the theory, ASFAIK. Despite science articles in the popular press. Just Googling around to see what is happening now: recently some are arguing something called “Spherical Shell Cosmological Model” to explain the observed CBR.
I am no expert, btw.

marque2
Reply to  mpainter
February 10, 2015 5:20 pm

All I know is my wife’s cosmetologist makes her look like a star 😛

Editor
Reply to  marque2
February 10, 2015 5:40 pm

All I know is my wife’s cosmetologist makes her look like a star 😛

… and thus enabling the Big Bang Theory to be reborn. 8<)

Mac the Knife
Reply to  marque2
February 11, 2015 8:45 pm

….. And that will make her twinkle!

Reply to  mpainter
February 10, 2015 7:00 pm

Like.

John Silver
Reply to  mpainter
February 11, 2015 12:21 am

The Universe is infinite, therefore the number of theories about the Universe is infinite.
Only one will receive grants and have a talk show on TV.

LarryFine
Reply to  mpainter
February 11, 2015 12:25 am

If they’ve decided to reject empirical data in favor of models that fit what they would rather believe, they’re now identical to the prevailing climate scientists.

February 10, 2015 1:13 pm

Slow news day? It doesn’t matter if BBT is valid or not — it is a compelling idea which challenged the prevailing consensus existed before — Steady State Universe. It is much more interesting and thought provoking than puny 1 degree per century temperature increase.

David H.
Reply to  tegirinenashi
February 10, 2015 2:25 pm

So what you are saying is that theory where everything is created out of nothing was meant to supplant the theory where everything was created out of nothing. 😉

Gunga Din
Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 3:29 pm

Nothing to it!

RoHa
Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 3:48 pm

No, he is saying is that theory where everything is created out of nothing was meant to supplant the theory where everything always existed and so was not created.

Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 4:46 pm

Well said.

Robert of Ottawa
Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 5:10 pm

An important question is:
Is the universe mass-energy-space constant throughout time, i.e. at each particular instant, or constant only when integrated over all time?

PiperPaul
Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 6:01 pm

“First there was nothing. Then it exploded.” Send more money for further research.

Reply to  David H.
February 10, 2015 7:40 pm

Nothing works. Which is why there is so much of it.

David A
Reply to  David H.
February 12, 2015 4:27 am

Not quiet David H. The BBT theory is everything was created out of an infinite energy unquantifiable beyond cause and affect something, or (steady state) everything always was and came from nothing, it just was.
In this you have identified what philosophers call the cosmological argument, which supports everything coming from an infinite beyond cause and affect something, which some call God.

dp
February 10, 2015 1:13 pm

If the universe has always existed then any explanation as to why any two thing in it are mutually visible would be an interesting story to read. The reason being, if the universe has always existed then an infinite amount of time has always been available for the expansion of the universe to create infinite distance between all things such that light will never be able to span the distance. It would also require the night sky be 100% filled with light since the universe would, over infinite time, fill the sky with stars and galaxies. This comes under my “something we’re sure of is wrong” detector.

John Peter
Reply to  dp
February 10, 2015 1:35 pm

This assumes that you have even the faintest idea of what the Universe actually consists of. The further out man can reach with modern instruments the more he can detect. There seems to be no limit. So it is clear that we have no idea of the extent of the Universe. It may be infinite in size and composition. No limit. it just goes on and on in all directions. The same with time. It may always have existed. If not, then I would like a RATIONAL answer to how all the matter already discovered plus all the matter we are still to discover and add that we will never discover (because of limits to our technology) could have been contained in a pea size object. How was that amazing pea created? What came before? I really think the issue is beyond our scientists but it keeps them occupied and in the meantime they enjoy using our money they manage to extract from us to pursue their fata morgana. And then the Universe is supposed to expand in all directions, but there is not a centre from which it expands.

Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 1:40 pm

If the universe is infinite, your ‘pea’ was also infinite in size to begin width. Don’t confuse the observable universe [limited by the finite speed of light] with the whole.

StephenB
Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 2:09 pm

I’m just a passerby with no understanding of physics whatsoever. Nevertheless, it seems to me that if time is infinite then it would have taken an infinite amount of time to get to today…an impossibility, right?

RoHa
Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 3:51 pm

“it just goes on and on in all directions.”
And since it seems to extend equally in all directions from me, it follows that I have good reason to believe I am the centre of the Universe.
Not that I ever doubted it.

RoHa
Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 4:03 pm

“Nevertheless, it seems to me that if time is infinite then it would have taken an infinite amount of time to get to today…an impossibility, right?”
That is assuming we have got to today. We may actually still be in the infinite amount of time leading up to today.
(The possibility of an actual infinite is discussed in mind-boggling detail in the various debates around the Kalam Cosmological Argument, which is a topic in philosophy of religion.)
I admit that here I find my mental limitations most annoying. Although I can say the words, and know what they are supposed to mean, I cannot form a conceptions of a first moment of time, a moment which does not have a preceding moment.
Nor can I expand my mind sufficiently to grasp the concept of an infinite time, with neither beginning not end.
What I can grasp is the idea of circular time, so that each moment both follows and (eventually) precedes any other moment. Today is the present, the far distant past, and the far distant future.
But that is just crazy.

george e. smith
Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 7:07 pm

I’m generally of the opinion, that ALL of that which is detectable, (by any means); and ONLY that which is detectable, (by any means) is a part of THE Universe.
There is nothing else besides that which is detectable (by any means). I’m talking “physical” existence; not figments of our imagination.

James
Reply to  John Peter
February 10, 2015 9:11 pm

“And then the Universe is supposed to expand in all directions, but there is not a centre from which it expands”. Don’t you mean “the University expands .. etc”?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  John Peter
February 11, 2015 3:50 am

StephenB
Your comment about ‘an infinite amount of time’ is an example of how the foundation of modern mathematics is still suffering from problems created by Cantor who misunderstood the subject of infinite series.
Infinite means ‘goes on forever’. It is not a number. It is like comparing apples and eating.
The universe is probably infinite and has always existed, and the ‘expansion’ is probably an illusion created by a assumption rooted in the BB theory. We have no evidence that it does not go on forever. We also have pretty firm evidence that gravity is not constant – something cosmologists would rather die creating dark matter with a pencil than admit. If gravity varied even a small amount with distance, there would be no need for dark matter or dark energy.
We should start be fixing the foundations of math, casting paradox out of Cantor’s paradise. And that is what David Garcia called his book on the subject.

Reply to  John Peter
February 11, 2015 5:13 am

Big “like” to your last comment Stephen B
The refutation of a gravitational constant would also allow the comet we just crash landed on that looks like rock to actually be rock!

Robertvd
Reply to  John Peter
February 11, 2015 10:57 am

The Rosetta Stone I mean Rock.

Eric Simpson
Reply to  John Peter
February 11, 2015 11:04 pm

StephenB
If you conclude that time has existed forever, there’s another paradox:
Time has existed forever, but every thing must have a beginning.

RoHa
Reply to  John Peter
February 12, 2015 5:31 pm

“If you conclude that time has existed forever, there’s another paradox:
Time has existed forever, but every thing must have a beginning.”
Not necessarily a paradox.
1. In “Time has existed forever” what does “exist” mean? Does it mean the same as “exist” in “this cupcake has existed forever”? If the cupcake exists, I can eat it. (Not that I would want to eat an infinitely old cupcake.) But I cannot (literally) eat time. This suggests that they do not exist in the same way.
“Every thing must have a beginning” = “Every thing must start existing”. But what sort of existing? Cupcake style? Cupcakes may be the sort of thing that must start existing, but since time does not exist in the same way, is it the sort of thing that must start existing?
2. Why should we accept that every thing must have a beginning?
It is not a necessary truth. “Time had no beginning” is not a self-contradictory sentence. Nor is “these subatomic particles have always existed” elf contradictory. (It may not be true, but we cannot tell that simply by thinking about the words.)
Nor can we base it on experience with any certainty. Our experience is limited to middle-sized entities such as cupcakes, galaxies, and photography clubs coming into existence. It is illegitimate to extrapolate from those to Time, Space, and The Universe.
So until you can resolve these issues, no paradox.

Roger
Reply to  John Peter
February 14, 2015 7:15 pm

The assumption is that “time” exists at all, which is unproven. It is not a physical property. It is not a physical process. Our measurements of time are no more than observations of movement in space. We may say that it takes a “year” for Earth to orbit the sun, but from Earth’s perspective, it may be merely in constant motion through a timeless fabric. Motion *creates* the perception (illusion?) of time. Were matter to be held motionless and pristine, this would be indistinguishable from time itself stopping. Just as reconstituting matter in precisely the condition it had formerly been in would be indistinguishable from “going back in time.” The ancient Egyptians understood this well enough, attempting to liberate themselves from entropy, and thus time, by embalming their corpses and shielding them from the forces of decay.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  dp
February 10, 2015 1:53 pm

Your second point (that the night sky is dark) is known as Olber’s paradox. It suffices to disprove any theory of an eternal universe. Quantum or otherwise.

Ged
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 10, 2015 4:47 pm

That is a silly fallacy. Just with the stars in our own galaxy, the night sky should be blazing with no dark spots at all — however the inverse square law and atmospheric attenuation are the sole reasons the night sky is dark. It has nothing to do with the Universe.

MarkG
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 10, 2015 5:09 pm

Olbers paradox arises because, in an infinite universe of constant density, the number of stars increases at the same rate the intensity of their light decreases. Besides which, if the sky would be blazing with no dark spots at all without atmospheric attentuation from stars in our own galaxy alone, we wouldn’t see any other galaxies, because they’d be hidden behind stars in our own…

Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 10, 2015 5:38 pm

Olber’s paradox.

not all infinite sums return an infinite result. the increasing red shift of distant objects means that series is not something like: 1+1+1+1…, but more like 1+1/2+1/4+1/8. The infinite series may even converge on 3.3K.

NZ Willy
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 10, 2015 6:05 pm

fredberple is right, Olber’s paradox is a false paradox. The series can sum to some finite total. It’s amazing that this wasn’t called out from the start.

george e. smith
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 10, 2015 6:50 pm

The night sky is “dark” instead of “bright” because of diffraction.
No matter how near or far a star may be, it never appears as a singular point of zero angular size.
Instead it creates a diffraction pattern, (an “interference” phenomenon), which has a finite area (the Airy disk),and the apparent radiance of that diminishes faster with distance than the number of stars increases.
A related problem is what telescope makers call “The Richest Field” telescope, which asks the question:
What size should you make a telescope, so that when viewing a random sky area with it by eye, you see the greatest number of brightest stars.
As you make the telescope aperture bigger, you also have to increase the focal length, and so the scale of the image field gets bigger, and you can’t see all of it in the eyepiece.
So there is actually one size for an ordinary refractive telescope, that collects the widest field of view with enough aperture to pick up more radiation, to make those star images look brighter.
The answer is that the objective lens should be something about 2 1/2 inches aperture, and relatively short focal length; maybe around f/4.
And it works because of the way that bright stars don’t increase in number fast enough to fill the Field of view with a bright field, instead of a dark field.

David
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 11, 2015 9:59 am

To comment on Ferdberple (i don’t think I can reply directly), Of course he is right about converging infinite series, but you can’t escape the paradox that easily. The perceived strength of light reaching an observer from a given distance r can be expressed as QI, where Q is the quantity of luminous matter (stars, galaxies etc) at distance r, while I is the average intensity of the light reaching the observer from that distance. It is assumed that on a large enough scale the distribution of luminous matter in the universe can be treated as uniform. For a large enough r, it follows that Q is proportional to the surface area of a sphere with radius r. This is directly proportional to r-squared. But (assuming light has been emitted from eternity) the intensity of light reaching the observer from luminous matter at any distance r is inversely proportional to r-squared. So in the product QI, r cancels out, with the consequence that QI is invariant for all distances. The total perceived strength of light reaching the observer is nQI, where n is the number of ‘distances’ (we can assume that a ‘distance’ is not a mathematical point but a small finite interval). In an infinite universe, n is infinite, so with constant QI greater than zero, nQI is also infinite. Since in fact the perceived strength of light is not infinite, we infer that either the universe is not infinite, or that light has not been emitted from eternity, or both.

rodmol@virginmedia.com
Reply to  dp
February 10, 2015 2:02 pm

The sky is 100% filled with “light”
..
They call it the Cosmic Background Radiation

Rud Istvan
Reply to  rodmol@virginmedia.com
February 10, 2015 2:53 pm

True. But Olber’s paradox concerns visible light from stars, not the CMB. Olber lived from about 1790 to about 1840.

rodmol@virginmedia.com
Reply to  rodmol@virginmedia.com
February 10, 2015 2:56 pm

Visible light gets red shifted after traveling through an expanding universe. Shift it enough and it becomes microwave.

george e. smith
Reply to  rodmol@virginmedia.com
February 10, 2015 6:33 pm

The sky contains no “light” at all. Light is made in your eye and brain, out of a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum radiant energy; namely the single octave from about 400 nm to about 800 nm wavelength.
There is some recent work that suggests that the eye can “see” some infrared. Not sure what it tells your brain to register.
The five human senses are all psycho-physiological / physical responses of our sensory organs and our brain to real physical universe phenomena, so warmth and light and sound and smell and taste and feel are all in our heads, and not in the sky or anywhere else.
In the case of “light” and “sound”, the units of those creations of our imagination are quite different from the physical units that describe the stimulating energies, whether EM radiant energy in the case of light, or longitudinal compression waves, in the case of “sound.”
Yes, I know that we flippantly use these scientific terms incorrectly, because of their common colloquial language usage; but we should not lose “sight” of the differences.
The fact that one person in say 200, having “hearing” disability, does not “hear” the tree when it falls in the forest in front of his eyes; proves that the 199 persons with normal “hearing” created the “sound” in their heads.
The remaining one made NO “sound” in his/er head because (s)he lacked the functioning organs that make “sound” in our heads.

Chuck Forward
Reply to  dp
February 10, 2015 2:43 pm

First, one must assume that time requires an energy lost on all systems with mass. Since light has a mass component, then it is subject to said lost and will red shift with time. The electromagnetic energy (photon in this case) falls into an unobservable energy state after 13.8 billion years and hence a dark sky at night for an infinite universe. This theory can supported by the fact that the observed universe goes out equal distance no matter which way we look.

rodmol@virginmedia.com
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 3:16 pm

Photons are considered to be “massless” (when at rest)
http://math.ucr.edu/home/baez/physics/ParticleAndNuclear/photon_mass.html

Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 5:44 pm

when not resting, photons must have mass according to m = e/c^2.

NZ Willy
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 6:12 pm

In any event, photons can’t “rest”. Photons are a quantified measure of energy transfer, a bookkeeping device, reified by the finite boundary condition of physical law which we call “the speed of light”.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 6:37 pm

Olber’s Paradox states that, in a truly infinite universe, every direction you look would intersect the surface of a star. This is a simple physicality, and not a series convergence problem.
And light doesn’t redshift over distance. It only redshifts if the source is moving away or it is subject to strong gravity.
And intervening dust and matter won’t solve it, because it would eventually heat up and re-radiate the light.
The simplest explanation (Occam’s razor here) is that the universe is finite and expanding. Some very, very, smart physicists have worked on this and pretty much agreed with the conclusion. I find it compelling, too.

NZ Willy
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 6:49 pm

Epiphron Elpis: you are wrong, you just don’t understand convergence. By your “simple physical” thinking, Zeno would still not have caught up to the turtle. But in fact Zeno enjoyed his turtle soup 2500 years ago.

Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 7:20 pm

Eustace Cranch,
I know slightly more than nothing about this subject. But I’ve know about Olber’s Paradox for at least 30 years, and it is convincing.
But I’m willing to be educated by anyone who knows more cosmology than me. That probably includes most readers here.
As far as the size of the universe goes, here are a couple of professors from the UK’s U of Nottingham, explaining that exact copies of everyone may be out there…

NZ Willy
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 10, 2015 7:37 pm

My comment above was for “Eustace Cranch”, not EE, sorry, cut & paste snafu.

Eustace Cranch
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 11, 2015 7:29 am

As an electrical engineer, I am well acquainted with calculus and series convergence/divergence. If Olber’s Paradox could be solved so simply, I wonder why some very high-powered physicists spent quite a bit of time an effort trying to explain it. And why several theories were postulated, and are still being debated. Too bad NZ Willy doesn’t have a time machine to go back and tell these guys the “simple” answer.
But that would create another paradox, wouldn’t it?

David A
Reply to  Chuck Forward
February 12, 2015 4:39 am

So if we can only see 13.8 billion light years, then is not the observable universe at least 27.6 billion light years across?

Espen
February 10, 2015 1:20 pm

Interesting theory! I like that the æther reappears as a “quantum fluid”.

February 10, 2015 1:23 pm

The result of the Planck mission http://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.01589.pdf is in excellent agreement with the standard BB model.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 10, 2015 1:34 pm

An overview of the Planck mission: http://arxiv.org/pdf/1502.01582.pdf

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 10, 2015 1:54 pm

Doc
Laws of physics can not lead to the antithetical laws of physics.
Big Bang hypothesis is not and can not be the realistic reflection of the physical universe.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 9:02 pm

Your comment betrays that your have no idea about what you are talking about.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 11, 2015 1:09 am

Oh yea, yea.
Perhaps it would be more useful if you explained how application of laws of physics leads to a scenario that contradicts those same laws of physics that allegedly created it.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 11, 2015 12:06 pm

Inflation is a monetary phenomenon. I got that from a Nobel Prize winner. 😉

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 11, 2015 4:15 am

Lief, there was very good agreement between the planetary movements and the epicycles created to explain them, within observable limits. But you knew that.
I am (normally) in Waterloo, home of the Perimeter Institute. There is nothing in the universe, observable or not, that cannot be explained by another dimension or two of String Theory. These days they are getting excited by something else but you get the idea.
A guy came out of a movie advertised as a “full 3-D experience!”. He complained to the manager that is was obviously a 2-D movie. There was nothing “3-D” about it. The manager explained that it really was a 3-D movie but one of the dimensions was wrapped up very tightly and was not observable at the scale of projection in his theatre. So no refund.

David
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
February 11, 2015 9:07 am

Crispin, were you talking about this xkcd strip? http://xkcd.com/848/

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
February 12, 2015 10:17 am

David, Yes!

jones
February 10, 2015 1:24 pm

Did CO2 cause the big bang?

mkelly
Reply to  jones
February 10, 2015 1:34 pm

No, but it did cause the over heating that lead to the Big Bang.

PiperPaul
Reply to  mkelly
February 10, 2015 6:05 pm

Methane I generate sometimes creates a big bang. Flame, too, if I light a match.

Babsy
Reply to  jones
February 10, 2015 3:26 pm

You speak of Yoda Gas! Strong with the Force it is! Of course it caused the Big Bang, and in the process, made what was before Unknowable. There ain’t nuffin’ it can’t do!

markl
February 10, 2015 1:24 pm

Interesting but can you model it?

Reply to  markl
February 10, 2015 1:57 pm

Give me a couple million dollars and 5 years and I will create it. Also, you can’t see any of the code or data used.

knr
Reply to  Kevin Schurig
February 10, 2015 3:36 pm

OK , if it can also count Polar Bears .

Admin
February 10, 2015 1:27 pm

I think their theory still has cosmic inflation / big bang style expansion – they just do a fancy Quantum foot shuffle to avoid the mathematically troublesome singularity at the very start of the Universe.
From http://www.iflscience.com/physics/quantum-equations-dispute-big-bang
… Das and Ali propose that the universe is filled with a quantum fluid made up of gravitons, particles that probably have no mass themselves but transmit gravity the way photons carry electromagnetism. The follow-up paper suggests that in the early universe these gravitons would have formed a Bose-Einstein condensate, a collection of particles that display quantum phenomena at the macroscopic scale. Moreover, the paper argues that this condensate could cause the universe’s expansion to accelerate, and so explain dark energy, and might one day be the only surviving component of the universe. …

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 10, 2015 2:04 pm

A paper confirming “inflation” was recently retracted, but I can’t find the article on http://retractionwatch.com/ just now.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Slywolfe
February 10, 2015 2:50 pm

Sly, cause it wasn’t retracted. The paper reported on a particular ‘beta curl’ polarization detected in the CMB using very sensitive instruments at Amundsen Scott research station at South Pole. These can be imprints from gravity waves during the inflation which would confirm Gutt’s hypothesis and therefore big bang. The paper awaited a second confirmation from the Planck mission that thempolarization of CMB was not caused by intervening galactic dust. The Planck results a couple of weeks ago indicate that maybe 60% of the beta polarization is from galactic dust. The maybe 40% that isn’t does not pass rigorous tests for statistical significance. So they have to collect more data over a longer period, and maybe from a different part of the sky.
Compare and contrast to ‘climate science’ like the present kerfuffles on homogenization at Climate Etc. and the Marotzke mess at Climate Audit.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 11, 2015 4:32 am

Interesting that they revive the ether in a gas-cloud manner, using gravitons instead if molecules. They just can’t come to grips with the possibility that there can exist a medium that is not granular.
The idea of turning every wave into a particle is plain weird. They watch a ship get hit by a wave and see it shudder, and say it has been hit by a large particle of water.
The ether conveys waves of light and gravity and does not have the properties of a gas. It is not a soup of particles akin to a gas. Why are we still stuck in 1880? It is the ultimate medium. It does not necessarily have to ‘be made of’ anything. It is no more explicable that the infinite universe it fills.
I agree with the post above: the CMB is old light. Drop the detection frequency and you will find older light. There is no paradox.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
February 11, 2015 12:16 pm

dox is everywhere and always singular. Not quite dox is a contradiction. As is adjunct dox. However there are doxies without smocksies. A sight to behold.

Reply to  Eric Worrall
February 11, 2015 3:26 pm

Reading the linked article I get the same impression. The equations allow for the universe expanding from a dense state 13.8 B years ago, while avoiding a singularity that Einsteins equations demands. The math is probably beyond my skill, but I’d not be surprised if the differences are minute by the time photons decoupled from the plasma.

February 10, 2015 1:28 pm

The Brane theory attempts to explain the before or start. But the problem with using math and physics of the known universe to explain what existed before it still remains. The Brane theory is just an attempt to explain where the singularity came from.

looncraz
Reply to  philjourdan
February 10, 2015 1:47 pm

True, but it suggests that there are test we can perform to validate it (sadly, though, falsification would merely be by exclusion).
It is, theoretically, possible for us to actually attempt to manipulate branes and form a new universe, however fleetingly or unstably, to verify brane, multiverse, and possibly even M-theory (a.k.a. string theory) concurrently, while setting the specifics down in stone.
Though I don’t see how the big bang theory has been challenged here, merely some specific assumptions we’ve long known have flaws. big bang theory isn’t complete, we know this, just like we know the standard model of physics is wrong, but both are stubbornly excellent at explaining everything we observe and test… until the exact point where they break (at the singularity, for example).

MCourtney
Reply to  philjourdan
February 10, 2015 3:32 pm

It’s a way to avoid asking what a singularity is.
In a universe where infinity is reasonable then 1 = 3 is reasonable, at the extreme.
Awkward. So accept and scope out when it’s applicable – or reject.
But a singularity is an interesting concept.
Is Zero the same singularity as Infinity?

old construction worker
Reply to  MCourtney
February 10, 2015 7:33 pm

! = 3 Are you using an hidden amplification number?

old construction worker
Reply to  MCourtney
February 10, 2015 7:34 pm

1= 3 sorry

NielsZoo
Reply to  philjourdan
February 10, 2015 3:40 pm

The larger problem is that our current frame of reference, our Universe, and it’s current rules and mathematical relationships may not allow us to test, interact or model (sorry for using the word) other Universes or what happened in this one before Time came into being and entropy started. The good part about all of it is there is still real science going on, questions being asked, and answers being challenged. That’s good for all of us whether the answer is Inflation, Brane theory, God, or some some nut falling off a Cosmic Muffin.
Now how do we get the Climateers to learn how to question their flawed basic premises?

Cam
February 10, 2015 1:29 pm

I thought the idea of dark matter/energy was created to explain the formation of the universe as we see it now because there wouldn’t be enough time after the BB to create the galactic formations we see now without the gravity from DM? If the universe has existed “forever”, would we even need dark matter/energy?

Baronstone
Reply to  Cam
February 10, 2015 2:07 pm

No we wouldn’t need DM/DE to explain things if the universe has been here forever. That’s why this is such an interesting story. Personally, I need to look at their model and the math behind it before I can say that they are on to something or just blowing smoke.

scarletmacaw
Reply to  Baronstone
February 10, 2015 3:03 pm

You’d still need it.
Dark matter is needed to explain the gravitational physics of galaxies, and the Milky Way in particular. There’s not enough ‘visible’ mass to explain the orbits of stars around the center.
Dark energy is a fancy (read: brings more funding) way of describing Einstein’s cosmological constant, which is an integration constant from the basic differential tensor equations. It is necessary to explain the current acceleration in the expansion rate. The new theory only changes things at the time when the universe was compact. The expansion still exists, and the measurement of the cosmic background radiation also supports that.

NielsZoo
Reply to  Baronstone
February 10, 2015 3:53 pm

That assumes that we understand gravity and since we still haven’t figured out how it works or what propagates it as a force, I think the whole dark matter and dark energy thing is still the “Heere Be Dragons” written at the edge of the map until they get a better handle on whatever causes/controls the interactions we call gravity.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  Baronstone
February 12, 2015 10:40 am

scarlet macaw
The BBT is a lot shakier than that. “Inflation” is not part of anyone’s reality. They worked backwards with certain assumptions and found there was a highly improbably ‘tiny seed at the start’ and a ‘very big universe shortly after’ and invented ‘inflation’ to fill in the missing bit. On a blackboard it is normal to write ‘then a miracle happens’ to in-fill between the two equations.
It was a ‘logical’ result of having two utterly different sizes of universe in a very short time. So ‘logically’ there must have been inflation to go from one to the other. Logic like that gets virgins tossed into volcanoes.
The CMB has the ‘wrong distribution’ to be something ‘leftover from the BB’. No kidding. The creation in the minds of men of Dark Matter was necessary because the alternative, that gravity is not constant or a few other possibilities needed to explain the appearance of barred spiral galaxies, would gut the BBT. The whole shebigbang would evaporate faster than a quantum particle popping out of existence.

Big Bob
February 10, 2015 1:30 pm

If I understand it correctly, and I’m no Dr. Sheldon Cooper, then the reasoning goes that since everything we look at in space is moving away from us then there must have been a “big bang” sometime in the past to make that happen. Somehow. the things in front of us are going faster than we are and the things behind us are going a little slower than us. I’m not sure what theory would have the stuff from ‘Big Bang’ propelled at different speeds but some how apparently it does. I have always thought that this whole theory needs more work. Perhaps Dr. Cooper could work on that some more.. I bet Penny could help out too!

Louis
Reply to  Big Bob
February 10, 2015 3:26 pm

Which direction is “in front of us,” and which direction is “behind us”? I don’t think you can determine a “front” or “behind.” Where there’s a gravitational lens available, you can often find very old galaxies in any direction in space you look. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong. But Everything at the same red shift is supposedly at the same distance away from us regardless of where you look. And everything beyond our local galaxy cluster is moving away from us at a speed that is relative to its distance not to its direction in space.

Alberta Slim
Reply to  Louis
February 11, 2015 3:25 pm

Why do galaxies collide if they are all moving outward from the BB

Reply to  Big Bob
February 10, 2015 6:13 pm

the reasoning goes that since everything we look at in space is moving away from us then there must have been a “big bang” sometime in the past to make that happen.

Why only one? We live in a daughter universe, created from a singularity in our parent universe. Dark energy and dark matter is evidence of this parent, and the infinity of parents and daughters.
Someone from the original universe emailed me a snapshot:
http://41.media.tumblr.com/cd67bc23967ca4681260459f75cc9828/tumblr_mwvo19asge1rl35vno3_1280.png

Reply to  ferdberple
February 11, 2015 12:22 pm

I’ll take two. Can you have them delivered by Monday?

FAH
Reply to  Big Bob
February 10, 2015 6:37 pm

Minor addition: It is not that things in the “front” of us are going faster or slower than things in “back” of us. Instead everything seems to be going away from us. Hubble’s measurements (that stellar light from other objects was generally redshifted, meaning the object was going away, that the redshifts increased as range to object (which is equivalent to time in the past)) increased) led to an interpretation that the universe has been expanding. It is easier to think of if one thinks about being on the 2D surface of an expanding balloon – we aren’t going anywhere but the whole surface is expanding, and other spots on the balloon are all going away from us. The general observation is that further and further objects have greater and greater redshifts. The notion of an expanding universe fits well with observations. Later, Penzias and Wilson measured the background radiation (unexpectedly, they were trying to reduce the noise of a communication system and could not get it to zero) in the sky and it turned out to be consistent with a redshifted observation of a long ago event when a hot ball of energy decoupled into matter and radiation, after which the background radiation propagated freely in the vacuum. In any event, the notion of an expanding universe from some early time seems consistent with a lot of observations. It is getting back to that time before which we can’t observe directly that has been a problem.
However, in cosmology, no kriging or homogenization of the data is allowed. And so far no one is proposing a dark matter tax.

AndyZ
Reply to  FAH
February 11, 2015 7:03 am

I’m pretty sure CO2 will have an effect on cosmic flows before too long…

Robertvd
Reply to  FAH
February 11, 2015 1:05 pm

Why on that expanding balloon Andromeda and the Milky Way would collide in the near future (3.75 billion years) ?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Jakarta
Reply to  FAH
February 12, 2015 10:54 am

FAH
Redshift could be the result of quantum entanglement of photons which apart from remaining in ‘spooky’ effects at a distance, also have a gravitational (or other) attraction. Even at vast distances, they would slow each other down and eventually return. That could account for redshift and it would not represent speed at all.
Redshift as distance is fine, but it may not mean velocity. One of the strangest aspects claimed for this expansion theory is that the spaces between galaxies are expanding but not the galaxies themselves. The original inflation after BB theory didn’t have it working like that. The only way to have both happen is to have an ether that is affected by gravity – again, anathema.
Having to invent DM and DE and Inflation that works but doesn’t work is all done in support of the rather useful general model of the universe. Quantum gravitational entanglement visible at the macro scale is more believable than DM or DE. Maybe there are more than 4 forces.

February 10, 2015 1:30 pm

I’m sorry, I can’t get behind the title of this article. Big Bang Theory was never settled nor claimed to be. it was simply the prevailing theory ( as the article states ) in the absence of a better one. And it remains that currently. it may be hogwash but nobody has staked their career on it being correct to the exclusion of all other options.
Well, nobody still in work.

Dave N
Reply to  Craig (@zootcadillac)
February 10, 2015 2:35 pm

+1
What’s the definition of “settled”?

AZ1971
Reply to  Dave N
February 10, 2015 3:19 pm

“Climate change” – thus sayeth your overlords, Obama and the UN IPCC.
When astrophysicists tell me, the average layperson, that 96% of the universe consists of two mathematical variables – dark energy and dark matter – I really don’t have much credibility in whatever they have to say, not the least of which involves either (a) something that happened 14 billion years ago (b) something that will result in another 25 billion years or so or (c) two immense fudge factors to allow their equations to “work”. I wish my job allowed such freedom, especially for the salaries these scientists earn.

Reply to  Dave N
February 10, 2015 3:22 pm

Well, from the engineering of sewage treatment plants we get the following:
— loaf floats
— sludge sinks

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Dave N
February 10, 2015 4:59 pm

Az1971 for all the years of study and expense to become an astrophysicist the pay is not that envious.
http://work.chron.com/much-money-make-astrophysicist-22923.html
A manager of a Burger place can make 80% of the average salary.
michael

Editor
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
February 10, 2015 5:45 pm

Mike the Morlock

A manager of a Burger place can make 80% of the average salary.

But think about the higher quality people you get to associate with on a daily basis …
… at the Burger Place. /snark. 8<)

Gunga Din
Reply to  Craig (@zootcadillac)
February 10, 2015 3:35 pm

it may be hogwash but nobody has staked their career on it being correct to the exclusion of all other options.

That’s only because it can’t be taxed. 😎

NielsZoo
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 10, 2015 3:59 pm

… yet.

Huge
Reply to  Craig (@zootcadillac)
February 11, 2015 7:47 am

Absolutely.
Quantum dynamics and general relativity conflict. Well known fact. General relativity’s ‘singularities’ probably do not exist as absolute point-like things.
Please don’t be ‘Stunning’ Krugers.

Phil's Dad
February 10, 2015 1:31 pm

dp – Only if it is a) expanding and b) initially contained sufficient matter/energy which are problematic co-conditions.

February 10, 2015 1:34 pm

oh and I’m a big fan of M or Brane superstring theories. I just don’t think it is wise to consider this a stick to beat the Luddites in climate science with.

February 10, 2015 1:34 pm

I have long been troubled by the idea that some known galaxies may be as much as 30 billion light-years from Earth. See http://www.science.tamu.edu/news/story.php?story_ID=1129#.VNp4FCzDua8
If the universe is really only 13.8 billion years old, and if two photons started out in opposite directions right at that moment of origin, then the farthest apart they could be is 27.6 billion light-years (13.8 x 2). When I have asked physicists about this, their somewhat weaselly response was that the rules of physics did not exist yet in those first few moments after the Big Bang, and that allowed some objects to slip farther away than they should have. That never made sense, so maybe this new insight can clear up that quandary.

Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 1:45 pm

We see the photons as they were 13.8 billion years ago. In the meantime, the universe has continued its expansion [which is accelerating] so is now much larger, but don’t confuse the observable universe with the whole [which is very likely infinite in extent].

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 10, 2015 2:06 pm

Your statment is a logical, physical and mathematical contradiction: object ‘infinite in extent’ can not expand, let alone have ‘accelerating expansion’ ( x * infinity = infinity)

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 10, 2015 3:17 pm

Vukcevic said:
Your statment is a logical, physical and mathematical contradiction: object ‘infinite in extent’ can not expand, let alone have ‘accelerating expansion’ ( x * infinity = infinity)
—-
The number of points on a ruler between the beginning of the ruler and the 1 inch mark is infinite. Yet there is a second inch with an equally infinite number of points.
I think I agree with those that say this isn’t a stick to beat climate science with. I would suggest that “settled science” in the case of cosmology is much different than the “settled science” of CO2 man made warming. As has been mentioned by others, in cosmology “settled science” is the prevailing theory and the people I have asked about questions like this don’t get rowdy, lie or get defensive. They just say its the best we know at the moment and are not troubled by the irregularities. They accept that there are irregularities and over time we may solve some of them. They are not on a religious crusade here.
In climate science “settled science” really means don’t argue with us because we really don’t care about the science, we just need an excuse for social engineering and control over people.
So I’ll just finish with the note that (2 + 2 = 5) / 0 = 1 for large enough values of 2 and 0.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 10, 2015 3:34 pm

there is an infinite difference between infinitely small and infinitely large !

Hugh
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 11, 2015 7:56 am

Remember also 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + … = -1/12 under Ramanujan summation.
Physics is weird, as weird as mathematics. Infinities are even weirder.
Vuk – if you don’t understand, it does not mean there is something wrong in physics, or you for that matter.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 11, 2015 1:22 pm

Hi Hugh
I don’t know anything about Ramanujan summation, but have enough background in both maths and physics to know that:
a) If someone presents a hypothesis according to which the physics laws as we know them, write themselves out of existence, then I would think something is wrong with either the hypothesis or the laws of physics. I rather trust the laws of physics.
b) Universe would (just about) tolerate only one infinity, and that is itself.

davidswuk
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 23, 2015 8:10 am

In The Begining there was No End. Infinite is something else.
However, the Photons we “see” are right here before our very eyes after being rattled by the Domino Effect set in motion far, far away and rather long ago and which remain Dark Matter if not nudged in our direction even if they are from every other.
Get it pal?

davidswuk
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 23, 2015 8:21 am

davidswuk
February 23, 2015 at 8:10 am
In The Begining there was No End. Infinite is something else.
However, the Photons we “see” are right here before our very eyes after being rattled by the Domino Effect set in motion far, far away and rather long ago and which remain Dark Matter if not nudged in our direction even if they are from every other.
Get it pal?

Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 2:15 pm

Not possible, two objects can not move at speed of light each in opposite directions, since relative velocity of one in respect of the other would be 2c, in which case Einstein’s theory of relativity is invalid. They can’t have their cake and eat it.

Colin
Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 2:36 pm

Wait, so light/photons leaving our “side” of the sun travel at a different speed to light leaving the opposite side?

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 2:53 pm

Tell that to the promoters of the Einstein’s theory.
Einstein referred to miner destructions as “spooky action at a distance”
Let’s have another glass of vine.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 3:08 pm

@ Colin excellent question that I have asked as well. That with the speed of light as being the limit, according to today’s views, falls to me in the same category as light bending. One answer I got that the theory is just based on “visible” light and added that other particles do not bend by gravitational forces. So I then asked the question : If some particles get “bend” by gravity and “others” do not would there not be a separation of said “mass” of particles. I got no answer but my thought then was: What if these “separated”, “un-seen” particles account for “dark mass’ sort of a “Lost in Space” effect? If they are not “visible” ( the answer I got) but are still there it could account for that?

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 6:48 pm

two objects can not move at speed of light each in opposite directions, since relative velocity of one in respect of the other would be 2c

this is an interesting problem. say you were actually moving away from someone at the speed of light, and they shone a laser at you. The light from that laser should never reach you, because you are traveling at the same speed as the laser light and it is behind you.
Which brings up an interesting question. Why do you not see the person and thus the laser source simply receding from you at the speed of light if all motion is relative? And if you can see the laser source, you can see the light from the laser.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 9:04 pm

Expansion of the infinite universe simply means that the distance between galaxy clusters increase with time. Nothing mysterious.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 10, 2015 9:11 pm

Since the space between galaxies is expanding and the galaxies basically sitting motionless in space, there is no conflict with relativity. You should not try to comment on things you don’t understand. And you need some more appreciation of what ‘infinity’ is. Here are a couple of exercises to get you started:
Imagine a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all occupied. Now comes a new guest and asks for a room. No problem, says the manager and he just moves all the guests to the room number that is one higher than the one they are in, leaving room #1 vacant and accommodating the new guest. Later that evening an infinity number of new guests arrive all asking for rooms. No problem, says the manager and he just moves every guest to a room with number twice that of their current room number, leaving infinitely many odd numbered rooms accommodating all the new guests.

Reply to  vukcevic
February 11, 2015 1:01 am

Two points
1. Infinity is only a mathematical concept, and those who do not appreciate that fact can talk of hotel rooms or similar meaningless analogies. Any ‘object’ you may conceive to have an infinity property (whatever it is, its size, number, etc) would exclude existence of anything else in the universe.
2. Regarding photons moving away from the sun in opposite direction at speed of light:
Light is electromagnetic wave, which propagates with (near) speed of light, depending on the medium. Your mobile phone is also source of em. waves, broadcasting in all directions at near speed of light.

AndyZ
Reply to  vukcevic
February 11, 2015 7:18 am

Thats a misunderstanding of relative velocity. The relative velocity between them would still be 1 – the distance is simply increasing between them (from an observer) faster. Using the composition law for velocities you can see this.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 2:25 pm

From your link: “Because the universe has been expanding the whole time, the researchers estimate the galaxy’s present distance to be roughly 30 billion light years away. ”
Don’t confine your concept of the distance traveled to the cosmic speed limit. If the photons are traveling at the speed of light away from each other, and the entire “bubble” of space time is also expanding as a whole, then you must add in the amount of expansion to the distance. Now I understand that is a simplistic attempt to explain but it’s the best I could do with my limited written language skills.

NielsZoo
Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 10, 2015 4:09 pm

The best description I saw of that concept was to consider spacetime as the surface of a balloon. Draw two points on the balloon and start blowing it up. The points have zero velocity relative to their “universe” on the surface of the balloon, but are moving away from each other as the balloon inflates. Add 2 to 10 more dimensions (depending on they theory you’re working from) perform the same trick and you get an inflationary universe.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 11, 2015 9:02 pm

Niels –
That expanding balloon analogy is a false analogy. The surface of the balloon is a curved 2D surface. The universe is in 3D. The expansion as they spell it out is the expansion only on the surface of the balloon. The universe is not the surface of a balloon.
They also show you how massive objects distort the space around them by showing a 2D elastic surface with a heavy ball sitting on it. While that might make them feel secure in their thinking, that, too, is a confabulation of dimensions. The elastic 2D surface bends due to FORCES within the surface materials, and it doesn’t even come close to representing a 3D universe. It, too, is a false analogy.

Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 2:25 pm

Me, too.
I’m no cosmologist, and I know nothing about general relativity. But, until someone who knows something comes along, here’s my guess.
Even after the Germans took over, Scientific American had some decent valuable-for-us-laymen articles, and one of them described the paradox without tensor calculus, in a way that was convincing enough to pull the wool over my untutored eyes.
Apparently it’s the universe itself that’s expanding, not just the matter in it. (Three-dimensional) space is like the (two-dimensional) surface of an expanding balloon. With respect to the balloon surface, matter and energy cannot travel faster than light. But there’s no limit to how fast the balloon surface can expand.

Louis
Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 3:43 pm

Matter cannot travel faster than light, but space is not matter, so it supposedly can “expand” faster than the speed of light. That’s how the universe can become over 90 billion light years in diameter after only 13.8 billion years. At least that’s how it is explained in the following video:

Twobob
Reply to  Louis
February 11, 2015 4:44 am

ZZ9PluralZAlpha.
42.

Will Nelson
Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 10, 2015 6:14 pm

The difficulty comes from trying to comprehend distance as a function of time. I think it is past time to start measuring distance as a function of monetary units of National Debt.

Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 11, 2015 8:57 pm

Tom –
They get around this by explaining that it isn’t the objects that are traveling away from each other, it is the SPACE between them that is expanding. Most oddly, they also claim that the space in local regions is not expanding – only the space between widely separated objects/galaxies/etc.
Thus this expanding space doesn’t act like two objects simply moving away from each other in normal non-expanding space.
They skip over the part where, if the space is expanding, then so are the rulers, and the frequencies must be affected, too. That may be (I am not sure yet) how they can get away with claiming that space inside galaxies is not expanding, meaning that our “normal” measuring rods – frequencies, etc. – are not subject to this “space expanding and only space expanding” thing.
For the most part, it all seems to me to be that they make up whatever rules that can patch up the holes in the theory, and then they patch it again with the next absurdity that arises.
I’ve found at least three ways to disprove the BBT if it is not space expanding but just objects fleeing from a central singularity location. I won’t go into them here, because the claim is not that objects alone are fleeing outward, but that the SPACE is expanding between them. I think that is an invalid proposition myself. And I DO agree with the late Halton Arp that the red shift = Doppler shift is an invalid simplistic concept – and for the reasons he said.

davidswuk
Reply to  Tom McClellan
February 23, 2015 8:22 am

davidswuk
February 23, 2015 at 8:10 am
In The Begining there was No End. Infinite is something else.
However, the Photons we “see” are right here before our very eyes after being rattled by the Domino Effect set in motion far, far away and rather long ago and which remain Dark Matter if not nudged in our direction even if they are from every other.
Get it pal?

Gary in Erko
February 10, 2015 1:35 pm

The theories of the start are all noises – bang, aum, the word.

Matt
February 10, 2015 1:38 pm

Actually something being prevailant and settled are not the same thing, and if you were to know more about the science regarding the Big Bang, NOBODY in the field says it is settled. You should not draw your conclusions from popular media accounts on complex subjects. There are a few theories around, and actually measurements are being made right now which will slash the one or the other… this is known to everybody in the field, so that alone makes the assertion that the science is settled nonsensical.

RWturner
Reply to  Matt
February 10, 2015 2:20 pm

You’ve heard of tongue-in-cheek? Anthony was merely making a comparison between the BBT and CAGW, and the comparison is very appropriate. I don’t attend any functions or am involved in cosmology in any way but there certainly IS a portrayal of the BBT as fact rather than very questionable theory. Mention doubt of the BBT on any science forum and prepare to be flamed. Lawrence Krauss even states on a documentary called The Unbelievers that “we know the Big Bang happened” (paraphrasing). Perhaps you should go have a conversation with Krauss and many of the other physicists that think like he does and let him know the science is not settled.

mkelly
February 10, 2015 1:41 pm

Something from nothing. That explains it.

Bill Illis
February 10, 2015 1:44 pm

We do know the ages of the stars through the stellar evolution models and the very oldest ones get up to $13.6 billion, the metal-poor second generation stars.
So Big Bang or not, there was a beginning.

Reply to  Bill Illis
February 10, 2015 1:48 pm

The Her-CrB GW is larger than the theoretical upper limit on how big universal structures can be… Thus, it is a conundrum: it shouldn’t exist but apparently does.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules%E2%80%93Corona_Borealis_Great_Wall
more questions

NZ Willy
Reply to  Bill Illis
February 10, 2015 6:24 pm

The oldest stars (globular cluster stars) were modelled to be 18 bn years old, but this eventually crossed with the “known” age of the universe, so the stellar evolution models were progressively tinkered with to keep the oldest stars younger than the universe. So we don’t really “know” anything down that path.

Reply to  NZ Willy
February 11, 2015 9:07 pm

NZ Willy – Yeah just like Bill Gates’ MicroSoft programmers have thrown patches upon patches ay their poorly designed Windows operating system since the day it was first released
Good science predicts; it doesn’t continually adjust. Adjustments are allowed, but there comes a time when there are so many adjustments that the idea needs to be reevaluated.

February 10, 2015 1:48 pm

[T]he Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics … oh, and a handful of assumptions. The first is that the red shift is a Doppler shift. Perhaps so; the arguments against tired light are good. But the last time I looked, cosmologists had no corroborating measurement that the Universe is expanding, now or ever.
Post Modern Science is regularly settled; regular science, never. Nor, apparently, is the Universe.
Cosmologists like to extrapolate their equations beyond the domain of their data all the way to the infinite and the infinitesimal. It gets them published, awards, tenure, and fame. And their models needn’t be shown actually to work.

Ron Ginzler
Reply to  Jeff Glassman
February 10, 2015 4:54 pm

Light could very well get tired from having to work its way through all that Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Also how do we know the laws of physics are invariant throughout the universe and throughout time? And that the constants in the equations don’t change?

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
February 10, 2015 5:19 pm

I was told by a guy with a PhD in astrophysics that only cosmic expansion can explain red-shift. Unfortunately, gravitational red-shift was measured by W.S. Adams in 1925 and verified by the experiments of Pound, Rebka and Snider between 1959 and 1965. Thus BBT would appear to be inconsistent with General Relativity.

Editor
Reply to  The Pompous Git
February 10, 2015 5:43 pm

The Pompous Git

Unfortunately, gravitational red-shift was measured by W.S. Adams in 1925 and verified by the experiments of Pound, Rebka and Snider between 1959 and 1965.

Has it (the red shift, AND the ALSO theory that stars behave identically under all conditions so as to enable the “red shift” to be assumed valid in all galaxies at all distances (times)) been re-measured since then?

Reply to  The Pompous Git
February 10, 2015 6:04 pm

The original observation was based on spectral line shift in Sirius. Pound, Rebka and Snider’s earthbound experiment has been repeated many times and in different ways. GPS measurements have to account for the effect.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
February 10, 2015 9:15 pm

The red shift is not a Doppler shift, but a lengthening of wavelength because space is expanding.

Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 11, 2015 5:11 am

If we theorize that the red shift is caused by an expanding Universe, we may not conclude that space is expanding because of the red shift. Whether Doppler or the expanding universe boot strap, what is the corroborating evidence that the Universe is expanding? What can be measured?

Lee
Reply to  lsvalgaard
February 11, 2015 4:38 pm

So, if we have a tape measure stretched from the earth to the moon, and the universe is expanding, then so is the tape measure, and hence the same number of inches can be counted off between the earth and the moon. But a light beamed from moon to earth would see a tiny shift due to universe expansion. As the tape measure expands, does it become less dense? As the molecules and subatomic particles in it get further apart, do they stay the same size or do they expand as well? What about gravity and the inverse square law? Are those things that are more light years away than they appear because of expansion affected by gravity that affects us? – that is: is there any gravitational effect between us?

Reply to  Lee
February 11, 2015 7:43 pm

No, for short distances the nuclear forces, the electromagnetic forces, and gravity are all much stronger than the expansion, so I cannot blame my expanding waistline on the BB. The expansion only becomes important for distances of the order of the average distance between clusters of galaxies.

Reply to  Jeff Glassman
February 11, 2015 9:10 pm

Jeff – Quite correct. You might want to read Hilton Radcliffe, a now retired cosmologist who makes many of the same points. He is, of course, quite unpopular with his peers.

Reply to  Steve Garcia
February 12, 2015 9:12 am

As is my want, I found The Static Universe: Expanding the Myth of Cosmic Expansion by Hilton Ratcliffe on Amazon. I recommend the first 2 out of the 3 one-star reviews there. The 3rd appeals to supernova and that as galaxies get further away they move away from us faster, an appeal to the standard cosmology as evidence of — you guessed — standard cosmology. Always read the one-stars first (the five-stars are contaminated by shills). The featured two-star review confirms the lower ratings, referring to Ratcliffe’s crackpot style. Too bad.
I’ll have to look for a scientific paper by Ratcliffe, if any exists, and it needn’t be published in a peer-reviewed journal, which would be the big bang of publishing and of postmodern science. Any recommendations?
His blog claims him to be well-credentialed, although credentialed crack-pots are commonplace (like all the IPCC climatologists, they may prove to include all the Big Bang cosmologists). The blog also names a founder of the Alternative Cosmology Group. Maybe there’s a lead from ACG to something substantial. The first page of its blog at http://www.cosmology.info is promising, but unanswered and at first blush appears to be a dead end.

Adam from Kansas
February 10, 2015 1:50 pm

With all of the discussion about infinite time, infinite densities, and newly coined exotic phrases like ‘quantum fluid’, would it really kill them to admit that perhaps believing the universe had a ‘creator’ is not all that far-fetched afterall?
There was a Popular Science article at one point that stated that science in general does not like the concept of infinite numbers, yet the only way they can explain things in a totally naturalistic way is to introduce the concept of ‘infinity’ (yet natural processes could not possibly allow for it).

Reply to  Adam from Kansas
February 10, 2015 2:10 pm

“…would it really kill them to admit that perhaps believing the universe had a ‘creator’ is not all that far-fetched afterall?”
“Believing” is not part of the scientific method and has no place in science.

Adam from Kansas
Reply to  Slywolfe
February 10, 2015 2:18 pm

Yet this article states a belief that the creation of the universe can be explained in an entirely naturalistic fashion without exactly knowing what it is and without a guarantee that it will ever be found (they find that the Big Bang theory has major issues and that in turns sends them back to the drawing board to find another explanation).
It’s just as much ‘believing’ in something as in religion at this point, or maybe that type of thing is only permitted on one side on the discussion.

Reply to  Slywolfe
February 10, 2015 5:24 pm

Quoting philosopher of science, Aaron Davidson

As humans we are born into this world without any preexisting knowledge about our universe. In order to cope and survive, we must make observations and draw conclusions from them. Without making observations and generalizations we cannot make sense of our surroundings. From birth, formulating a belief system is essential to our survival, and perhaps even to our consciousness. Although all that exists for the individual is one’s subjective experiences, an external objective reality must be assumed in order to function on a level beyond your average garden vegetable.
Obviously there is an infinite set of beliefs one can believe in, but most would be nearly as useless as having no belief system at all. As belief systems grow in complexity, beyond simple common sense generalizations, these systems attempt to also explain and understand. Belief systems can be classified into two basic flavors: science and religion.
What are the distinctions between a science and a religion? At first glance one might be inclined to state that a science is a system where beliefs are derived from objective methodologies and that a religion is a system of beliefs based on faith. However, a conscious entity practicing science can only draw on its subjective experiences to form beliefs. This means that no matter how objective science appears to be, there are generally two assumptions which musty be taken entirely on faith.
1) There exists an external objective reality
2) There exists some sort of uniformity through time
a) the universe has structure
b) predictions and generalizations are possible.
Even though these assumptions exist in science it should be noted that as stated before, there is no way around them if we are to attempt to function without difficulty in this universe. Marvin Minsky (1985) has an interesting view of this problem. The limits to human knowledge are created when the questions being asked are circular. For example, asking what caused the universe is asking what causes a cause. This circularity indicates that the question is unanswerable by its very nature.
Other than those assumptions which are absolutely necessary, science rejects assumptions of faith. Science is a belief system which aims to minimize faith. Religion, on the other hand, is a belief system based completely on faith.

DonM
Reply to  Slywolfe
February 11, 2015 4:52 pm

Somebody accepts the BBT because they “believe” there may be dark matter (and other stuff) around to tie up all the loose ends.
The authors propose (and hope others will accept) the theory associated with this posting along with the “belief” that there may be an as yet unmeasurable aether out there to help hold their theory together.
A whole lot of people “believe” in a creator in order to fill in the unexplainable/unmeasurable gaps in the reality of their world.
Theories are just that, theories, they are (or should be) open-ended, and they still require belief (faith). The inclusion of some sort of a “creator” really shouldn’t change anything unless it also takes away the open-endedness of the situation.
Believing is only a problem for those too stubborn to accept that there may be changes (to their theory or their lives) and that their beliefs may actually need to change.

The Sage
February 10, 2015 1:54 pm

This is so not news. The unfinished business of the reconciliation of quantum mechanics and the purely classical formulation of general relativity was a known loose end back in the ’70s when I first became aware of the subject; the problem was, and remains, trying to get the necessary mathematical formulation that doesn’t turn all the numerical calculations into the form “infinity – infinity”.
This paper looks to be yet another semi-classical smearing out of the classical singularity, just with a different sort of handwaving from the similar ideas that Stephen Hawking was playing with 30-odd years ago. It’s not even in the class of “way out there” ideas that have a modicum of respectability, like Turok’s cyclic ekpyrotic model of a few years back.

February 10, 2015 1:54 pm

This is almost like religion. So get ready to enjoy the debate…
☺ 

Michael D
Reply to  dbstealey
February 10, 2015 3:40 pm

almost like religion because the Big Bang was first proposed by Georges Lemaître, a priest and a physicist?

Reply to  dbstealey
February 10, 2015 3:40 pm

an infinite bowl of popcorn

Reply to  Bubba Cow
February 10, 2015 6:30 pm

We have to imagine the bowl, for the popcorn, being a perfect sphere . . .

george e. smith
Reply to  Bubba Cow
February 10, 2015 7:25 pm

Janice,
A perfect sphere is a fictional concoction of mathematics; one manifestation of it being the Cartesian equation : x^2 + y^2 + z^2 = r^2
There is absolutely NOTHING in any branch of mathematics that actually exists in the real physical universe; only approximations.
So the above equation can not explain how you get 8 km high mountains on the surface of the earth; which therefore is not a perfect sphere.
There aren’t even any points or lines either.
g

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Bubba Cow
February 11, 2015 10:08 pm

and butter…… and salt…… and beer to infinitely wash it all down!

Joe
Reply to  Bubba Cow
February 12, 2015 12:51 am

“and butter…… and salt…… and beer to infinitely wash it all down!”
Funny you should mention butter:
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/23/butter-bad-saturated-fat-healthy-eating-industry
Apart from the fact that I can now enjoy toast that tastes good again, a few interesting points from that link:
(1) it’s about well established science that appears to be wrong
(2) That science is around the same age as the AGW meme
(3) The article is keen to point out that certain industry segments have benefited from it
(4) They point out how such financial interests may have influenced the science over the years
All sound familiar so far?
(5) It’s the Guardian reporting it – who can see exactly how such things might work for fatty foods yet can’t openly scoff at any suggestion that the same might happen with AGW “science”
(6) The vast majority of the commenters, who would also sneer at AGW scepticism, take the whole thing enthusiastically onboard, including going as far as suggesting conspiracies by the sugar industry!
Oh, the hypocrisy!

February 10, 2015 2:09 pm

Here are some stars in just one nearby galaxy (M31), captured by the Hubble telescope (the very bright stars are much closer, in our own galaxy).
And this explains some of the questions upthread (how big is the universe?)

Lars P.
Reply to  dbstealey
February 10, 2015 3:33 pm

how big is the universe 🙂
at least 250X bigger then the visible 90 billion light-years sphere:
http://www.technologyreview.com/view/422579/cosmos-at-least-250x-bigger-than-visible-universe-say-cosmologists/

February 10, 2015 2:09 pm

Quantum equation dilemma:
1. Creation ex nihilo
2. Perpetual Motion Machine
**Some restrictions apply. No quantum superstates or 3rd postions allowed.

cnxtim
February 10, 2015 2:10 pm

There should be no debate over the use of the term” settled “. Science is only settled when it absolutely passes, and continues to pass the Scientific Method.
Everything else is conjecture, hypothesis or theory.
Often interesting but don’t overreact, introduce laws, start universal taxation regimes and DON’T blow the budget.

Tom in Florida
February 10, 2015 2:12 pm

Whether or not the BBT is part of the path to understanding where we all came from, at least we are not being asked to give up our lifestyles, our money and our freedom for it.

zemlik
February 10, 2015 2:13 pm

of course everything that exists is that which is comprehended by human mind. I would like to find the person who described the universe as expanding like a balloon and give them a slap for confusing my tiny mind.
As I can understand things things might well be expanding and might well have been very compressed at some time in the past but as we are in the expanding thing we are in the same thing now as before just the scaling is a bit different. the problem with the big bang is what are we expanding into ? is difficult to comprehend.

zemlik
Reply to  zemlik
February 10, 2015 2:20 pm

I love this stuff!
of course for the universe to be expanding 3D space must be being created in order to fit everything in.

zemlik
Reply to  zemlik
February 10, 2015 2:26 pm

and I suppose that it might not be getting bigger by, like a balloon, the edges pressing outwards but more 3D stuff might be bubbling up inside and pushing things apart.

Reply to  zemlik
February 10, 2015 2:34 pm

Recent experiments that claim to have slowed light also challenge Einstein’s famous equation and would destroy the notion of ‘spacetime’ and ‘curved’ space.

zemlik
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 3:12 pm

I can understand the bits that make up me being more compressed in a compressed reality but it would be irrelevant because everything else would be compressed. The reality must react to compression of 3D space. In the big bang theory 3D cannot just keep on getting smaller/more compressed in relation to previous distances between things for some reason I do not understand.

NielsZoo
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 4:18 pm

We slow light down all the time. That’s how lenses work. It gets slower in any medium except a pure vacuum… and I seem to remember that according to quantum theory there’s not even any such thing as a pure vacuum as particles can pop into existence randomly for extremely short time periods. (Like Planck time scales.) I won’t even pretend to understand it.

Mark
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 6:23 pm

The referenced experiments resulted in decreased speed even after exiting the medium which originally slowed it, IIRC.
Mark

February 10, 2015 2:14 pm

A universe that ‘appears’ to be ~14 billion years old could certainly have been created ~4,000 years ago.
Why did the Creator leave deceptive clues and curse us with curiosity?

mebbe
Reply to  Slywolfe
February 10, 2015 6:59 pm

Rats! Here I was going with 6,000 years!

Reply to  mebbe
February 10, 2015 7:38 pm

I managed to find 48 different dates for the creation, but then I got bored…

mebbe
Reply to  mebbe
February 10, 2015 8:45 pm

Pompous,
Don’t brag!
A lot of us couldn’t find one date for an event that exciting.

Reply to  mebbe
February 10, 2015 10:52 pm

Gurgle is your friend 😉

DonM
Reply to  mebbe
February 12, 2015 5:34 pm

You know how dog years work … those are God years ….
And of course you need to be God to know how they work.

son of mulder
February 10, 2015 2:15 pm

Spin foam, that will be the next big thing after plastic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_foam

Colvinus
February 10, 2015 2:27 pm

Oh no–The Universe is EVEN BIGGER THAN WE THOUGHT

NielsZoo
Reply to  Colvinus
February 10, 2015 4:20 pm

I’m blaming CO2 for fizzing up and stretching it out.

February 10, 2015 2:28 pm

There are. Lots of theories that challenge ‘Big Bang’ and they are not new, but just like alternate theories to greenhouse warming they have been sidelined, ridiculed, shunned and de funded by those supporting the ‘mainstream’ model.
Big Bang, black holes, dark energy and dark matter are all problems of general relativity. The first violates the ‘something from nothing’ law, both BB and Black Holes suffer from the laws of physics no longer working. Dark energy and matter from the absurdity of invisible stuff conviently solving equations that are out by up to 90%!
The recent comet landing gives a perfect example of Nerds desperately clinging to theory whilst reality ridicules. The comet is clearly not a ‘dirty snowball’, but a giant lump of rock. Every other comet they have gotten close enough to photograph is the same. The implications are as profound as Galilaeo. Gravity might not be constant. Electrical forces might exist in space on huge scales. But like AGW funding and jobs are on the line and admitting that those who currently don’t receive it might be right would be career suicide!

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 2:42 pm

I also forgot about the extra dimensions. Created for the same purpose as dark matter. The theories didn’t match observation so they retrofitted the theory with something that was impossible to observe!!
Sounds more like religion to me but there you go!

Epiphron Elpis
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 2:59 pm

[snip – Epiphron Elpis is yet another David Appell sockpuppet.]

NZ Willy
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 6:32 pm

Epiphron Elpis: “Dark matter” isn’t even matter, it’s just dark. It’s just a measure of the gap between theory and observation. It could be called “daark knowledge”. Or “dark heat” could be the gap between global warming models and the actual flat “pause” — if they could get away with that — but the thermodynamicists have sort of pre-empted that with their “entropy”, the original measure of that which we cannot detect.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 5:41 pm

The implications are as profound as Galilaeo.[sic]

Galileo believed that comets were an optical atmospheric phenomenon and viciously attacked anyone who claimed they were objects in the space between Earth and Sun.

February 10, 2015 2:32 pm

The Standard Models of particle and cosmological physics, and of climate ‘science’ are not Popper falsifiable and fall across the line of Demarcation from science.

RWturner
February 10, 2015 2:32 pm

Go figure, a theory involving magic is probably not correct. Shocking. /s

Epiphron Elpis
Reply to  RWturner
February 10, 2015 3:01 pm

[snip – Epiphron Elpis is yet another David Appell sockpuppet.]

February 10, 2015 2:34 pm

None of the Universe would exist if not observed. It’s all in your mind, which may not exist either. … or it could just be multi-dimensional collapse!

Will Nelson
Reply to  Slywolfe
February 10, 2015 6:24 pm

If the Universe makes a Big Bang and there’s no one there to hear it did it really make a noise?

DataTurk
February 10, 2015 2:35 pm

Anthony, I think this topic is simply not germane to the climate change discussion for the fairly simple reason that very few physicists would preemptively declare the science settled and forestall any future debate or new observations of fact from the advancement of the science. I believe that astrophysicists, in particular, are quite aware of the limitations imposed by our technology and our ability to conceptualize the beginning of the universe, and have historically been open to debate….sometimes acrimonious…but usually aimed at improving our ability to describe and model our universe.
This article, and it’s inflammatory headline, are not up to your usual high standard.

Reply to  DataTurk
February 10, 2015 2:48 pm

No I think you will discover that the powers that be are just as closed minded and protective of their positions in this area as they are in climatology. The same cronyism in peer review. The only difference is that the skeptics in cosmology don’t get the same media coverage

DataTurk
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 10, 2015 4:45 pm

In the end, though, the data always wins. That’s the difference.

Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 11, 2015 5:41 am

“In the end the data always wins, that’s the difference”
Oh you poor naive fool 🙂 data is ignored, shunned, ridiculed, slandered in every area of science or human endeavour! Human nature applies to all humans, even scientists! No one likes to be proved wrong and outward commitment to scientific method is a poor weapon against pride and ego. Especially if careers and funding are on the line.

DonM
Reply to  wickedwenchfan
February 12, 2015 5:42 pm

Turk,
“In the end…”
With respect to BBT I don’t really care how far away the end is … no damage will be done.
With respect to the bad data and its use, as associated with climate scare, I hope the end is near. The end needs to get here before too much damage is done.

Reply to  DataTurk
February 10, 2015 4:47 pm

Our host used to have a site description which encompassed “Puzzling things in nature. . .” Not just “climate.” At some point last year that changed. Personally, I liked the broad scope, and enjoyed the greater variety of topics that it generated. So an occasional article on cosmology or other “non-climate” topics is particularly welcome, IMO.
/Mr Lynn

Reply to  L. E. Joiner
February 10, 2015 5:43 pm

+10

Mac the Knife
Reply to  L. E. Joiner
February 11, 2015 10:13 pm

Ditto.

Bob Mount
February 10, 2015 2:39 pm

Perhaps Fred Hoyle’s Steady-state theory was right after all!! I love WUWT!

MCourtney
Reply to  Bob Mount
February 10, 2015 2:52 pm

Improbable.
The universe is expanding. That makes a steady state universe improbable as it should have expanded too much by now. It needs to be a wobbly universe.
The lack of gravity waves is a sign that the inflation period didn’t happen with the current laws of gravity applied.
It’s inflation theory that is challenged by the everlasting wobbly universe theory.
But that assumes that the laws of gravity are constant at all matter densities – for which we need both dark matter and dark energy to make the sums work.
Or fiddle-in and fiddle-out factors as the cynical might say.
It isn’t beautiful mathematics.

Reply to  MCourtney
February 10, 2015 3:01 pm

There is a way to get around it using very simple maths, by introducing concept of ‘Relativistic Gravity’
http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CU.gif

Gunga Din
Reply to  MCourtney
February 10, 2015 3:40 pm

OH NO!!!!
There really is a “Hockey Stick”! 😎

Reply to  MCourtney
February 10, 2015 5:44 pm

The observable universe appears to expanding. What of the rest of the universe that is not observed?

Epiphron Elpis
February 10, 2015 2:45 pm

[snip – Epiphron Elpis is yet another David Appell sockpuppet.]

Reply to  Epiphron Elpis
February 10, 2015 2:53 pm

The standard model has problems at all scales, not just at the micro level. That’s why they had to invent dark matter and dark energy.
Also “the greenhouse properties of CO2 is solid science”? I would argue that the properties of CO2 are solid, the “greenhouse” bit is pure conjecture.

knr
Reply to  Epiphron Elpis
February 10, 2015 3:27 pm

‘with the greenhouse properties of CO2, which is solid science.’
In a bell jar with nothing else involved , so like a square chicken in vacuum the model works providing that the model covers all and knows all about the thing is it trying to model, and with climate we are not even close to that. Its not the rules that matter but how to and what your applying them to, if there is a truck load of variables you don’t understand then you simply cannot claim ‘this is not an issues becasue of the laws of anything ‘ If that was not the case they there would be no need at all to come up with 100 reasons why the models have failed in , no need for any ‘missing heat ‘ or missing anything . You want to make claims of perfection , or ‘settled science ‘ you better have a perfect evidenced to start with

Mark
Reply to  knr
February 10, 2015 7:07 pm

Spherical cows…
Mark

rodmol@virginmedia.com
Reply to  knr
February 10, 2015 7:18 pm

Mark…..Fedora 18

mebbe
Reply to  Epiphron Elpis
February 10, 2015 7:50 pm

Yes in deed, every physicist agrees with every other physicist.
And they all agree on the ‘greenhouse properties’ of CO2 but they just can’t come together on that feedback thingy.

Reply to  Epiphron Elpis
February 10, 2015 11:05 pm

Quote from the abstract of Causal Dynamical Triangulations and the Quest for Quantum Gravity:
“It is the only approach to have demonstrated that a classical universe can be generated dynamically from Planckian quantum fluctuations.”
The other “brane” dimensions may simply be non-physical hidden variables.

johann wundersamer
February 10, 2015 2:47 pm

the fallacie of ‘logic speech’:
‘a new quantum equation predicts the universe has no beginning.’
when a language offers a word ‘beginning’ there has to be a phenomenon called ‘beginning’.
all cretes are liars explains the authochton crete to the tourist.
AND:
PREDICTS – already accomplished beginning.
Karl Kraus for wording, Phillip K.Dick for pre diction.
Hans

zenrebok
February 10, 2015 2:49 pm

Serious question for the statics crowd.
Against an infinite time line, does the significance of any event in the Universe fall to zero?
If that is the case, then local, not cosmic events are both important to a species, but of zero value across cosmological time spans and distances.
Does it follow then, that events have simultaneously no value, and absolute value. Depending on where one stands? And who’s affected?
Have I fallen for a faulty philosophical carrot?

zenrebok
Reply to  zenrebok
February 10, 2015 2:51 pm

er….statistics crowd….mea culpa

Reply to  zenrebok
February 10, 2015 7:00 pm

All values are always dependent on where one stands. Everyone is affected, and nobody is affected. Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes. The only time and place that really matters, to any individual, is the time and place that they occupy. Even without regard for religious morals, though, many people try to do good during their life, try to improve their lot, and the lot of those that will come after them. They do so regardless of whether it makes a farthings worth of difference to the universe. And though the arguments on this blog will make no difference to the world knowledge on this subject, we still come here and argue. It is in the nature of humans to assign values to their thoughts and actions. Who is affected? We all are.

zenrebok
Reply to  Janice the Elder
February 11, 2015 7:41 pm

Thanks for that. Its a fine point made finely. I ponder often upon, what would transcend local space events, and influence everyone every where in the cosmos. A universal change in the charge of an electron might do it.

n.n
February 10, 2015 2:52 pm

There is a theory that models do not conform to nature, but that nature conforms to models. That human consciousness is a causal force that establishes patterns in the chaos.
As we indulge in childhood fantasies, and impatiently join our ancestors in peering beyond the scientific domain, we must wonder if we will ever pass beyond inference and confirm our perceptions. First, it was gods riding through the sky. Now, it is uniformity and independence to calm our fears of the unknown and anchor our identities in divine grounds.

johann wundersamer
February 10, 2015 3:01 pm

authochton
read autochthon
Thanks – Hans

February 10, 2015 3:07 pm

Jeff Glassman February 10, 2015 at 1:48 pm
[T]he Big Bang singularity arises directly and unavoidably from the mathematics … oh, and a handful of assumptions. The first is that the red shift is a Doppler shift. Perhaps so; the arguments against tired light are good. But the last time I looked, cosmologists had no corroborating measurement that the Universe is expanding, now or ever. . .

The distinguished astronomer, the late Halton Arp, offered observable evidence that quasi-stellar objects with high red shifts were physically connected with low-red-shift galaxies. He hypothesized that the former displayed ‘intrinsic’ red shifts, and that the Doppler Effect as evidence for an ‘expanding universe’ was mistaken. Interestingly, he speculated that the quasars were actually young galaxies, ‘birthed’ from older ones. For these ideas, he was shunned by academic astronomy, not unlike the attitude of the academic Warmists to skeptical scientists. See: Halton Arp, Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology, and Academic Science (1998); http://www.amazon.com/Seeing-Red-Redshifts-Cosmology-Academic/dp/0968368905/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1423609409&sr=1-1&keywords=arp+redshift
/Mr Lynn

February 10, 2015 3:11 pm

First there was nothing.
Then it exploded.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Max Photon
February 10, 2015 3:42 pm

And the explosion left something.
+10, but nobody has a better hypothesis (yet).

Tanner
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 11, 2015 12:13 am

Try reading “conversations with God – book 1” by Neale Donald Walsch. See the part on the Big Bang theory. Wraps up God and the Big Bang theory in one!
Alternatively you could go for “The hitchiker’s guide to the Galaxy” the simple answer is 42 😉

Mac the Knife
Reply to  Max Photon
February 11, 2015 10:16 pm

Take that as an article of faith.

David A
Reply to  Max Photon
February 12, 2015 5:05 am

Not nothing. The BBT theory is everything was created out of an infinite energy unquantifiable beyond cause and affect something, or (steady state) everything always was and came from nothing, it just was.
In this you have identified what philosophers call the cosmological argument, which supports everything coming from an infinite beyond cause and affect something, which some call God.

Alan McIntire
February 10, 2015 3:15 pm

Fred Hoyle believed in a “steady state” universe, constantly expanding ,and new matter spontaneously created in the gaps left by the expansion. It was Fred Hoyle who coined the term “Big Bang” as a derogatory insult.
George Gamow hypothesized microwave background ratiation of about 5 degrees K as a remnant of the big bang. Robert Wilson and Arno Penzias had problems with static received by their antenna. At firs they thought it was the result of bird shit, but even after a thorough cleaning, the static was still there. It turned out they discovered the background radiation predicted by George Gamow- but 2.7 K rather than the calculated 5 K. Of course there are singularity problems to be resolved, but there must have been a pretty uniform explosion 13.8 billion years ago, else where did that 2.7 K radiaiton come from?

Reply to  Alan McIntire
February 10, 2015 3:23 pm
MikeB
Reply to  vukcevic
February 11, 2015 6:08 am

The only problem with that, Vukcevic, is that this is, I believe, broad band radiation which follows the full planck profile, as if from a solid body at 2.7K. It is not line spectra, which you might expect from some very thin dispersed gas.

sleeper
Reply to  Alan McIntire
February 10, 2015 3:28 pm

My theory, and it’s only a theory, is that if you clean up all the bird shit in the universe that 2.7K radiation will disappear.

Jim Francisco
Reply to  sleeper
February 10, 2015 8:29 pm

Wow. I had to read all that stuff above to finally get a good laugh. Just saying bird shit several different ways is funny. I didn’t know how much I don’t know until now. I wish I could understand more of it. I do understand Doppler shift and bird shit. I have been aerial bombarded by a seagull. I’m glad cows don’t fly.

Reply to  sleeper
February 11, 2015 1:18 am

It is not a joke!
Background radiation was originally attributed to ‘bird shit’ in the aerial dish.

Paul Westhaver
Reply to  Alan McIntire
February 10, 2015 4:40 pm

adding key information…as you said, “It was Fred Hoyle who coined the term “Big Bang” as a derogatory insult” ..adding…directed at Father Georges Henri Lemaitre, PhD the Belgian priest and physicist who came up with the “primeval egg” theory.
People then and even now are so pissed off that the big bang was invented by a catholic priest they self edit to exclude that single fact.
Yup A Catholic Priest invented the Big Bang.

Golden
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