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The New York Times suddenly allows two scientists to admit the Big Bang theory might be wrong

Modern science
Modern science

The refusal by many in the scientific community to deny there is any uncertainty of science has been best illustrated for decades by the cosmologists who have put together the framework of the standard model for the creation of the universe, centered on the Big Bang, and their pitchmen in the mainstream press. Since the 1960s any skepticism of this model was generally treated as equivalent to believing in UFO’s, aliens, and the Face on Mars.

Thus, astronomers and astrophysicists did what necessary to protect their careers. Even if they had great doubts about the standard model and the Big Bang, they generally kept their mouths shut, saying nothing. Meanwhile, our increasingly corrupt press pushed this one explanation for the formation of the universe, treating the cosmologists who pushed it as Gods whose every word was equivalent of an oracle that must never be questioned.

This past weekend the New York Times suddenly admitted to the uncertainty surrounding the Big Bang, and for possibly the first time in decades allowed two scientists to write an op-ed that carefully outlined the problems with the standard model and the Big Bang theory, problems that have existed and been growing since the 1990s but have been poo-pooed as inconsequential and easily solved. Data from the Webb Space Telescope however has made that poo-pooing more and more difficult, as astrophysicists Adam Frank and Marcelo Gleiser make clear:

According to the standard model, which is the basis for essentially all research in the field, there is a fixed and precise sequence of events that followed the Big Bang: First, the force of gravity pulled together denser regions in the cooling cosmic gas, which grew to become stars and black holes; then, the force of gravity pulled together the stars into galaxies.

The Webb data, though, revealed that some very large galaxies formed really fast, in too short a time, at least according to the standard model. This was no minor discrepancy. The finding is akin to parents and their children appearing in a story when the grandparents are still children themselves.

It was not, unfortunately, an isolated incident. There have been other recent occasions in which the evidence behind science’s basic understanding of the universe has been found to be alarmingly inconsistent.

The op-ed then lists the many areas where cosmologists have come up with ad-hoc solutions — such as inflation and dark matter and dark energy — to solve the conflicts between the data and the theory, all of which should have raised strong questions years ago about this model. As the scientists add,

[T]he model has already been patched up numerous times over the past half century to better conform with the best available data — alterations that may well be necessary and correct, but which, in light of the problems we are now confronting, could strike a skeptic as a bit too convenient.

Well, Lordy-me! You mean “following the science” doesn’t mean there is only one true answer, and that any skepticism expressed by anyone should not be cause for immediate blacklisting and censorship? Who wudda thunk it?

While it is good that the New York Times might finally be recognizing the value of skepticism in the field of cosmology, do not get your hopes up that this signals a major reform of the scientific community and the leftist mainstream press, which in many other fields (especially medicine and climate research) has allowed politics and funding to corrupt the work being done. Not in the least. Consider this essay today by a climate scientist entitled “I Left Out the Full Truth to Get My Climate Change Paper Published”.

The first thing the astute climate researcher knows is that his or her work should support the mainstream narrative—namely, that the effects of climate change are both pervasive and catastrophic and that the primary way to deal with them is not by employing practical adaptation measures like stronger, more resilient infrastructure, better zoning and building codes, more air conditioning—or in the case of wildfires, better forest management or undergrounding power lines—but through policies like the Inflation Reduction Act, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

So in my recent Nature paper, which I authored with seven others, I focused narrowly on the influence of climate change on extreme wildfire behavior. Make no mistake: that influence is very real. But there are also other factors that can be just as or more important, such as poor forest management and the increasing number of people who start wildfires either accidentally or purposely. (A startling fact: over 80 percent of wildfires in the US are ignited by humans.)

In my paper, we didn’t bother to study the influence of these other obviously relevant factors. Did I know that including them would make for a more realistic and useful analysis? I did. But I also knew that it would detract from the clean narrative centered on the negative impact of climate change and thus decrease the odds that the paper would pass muster with Nature’s editors and reviewers.

In other words, in what many consider the world’s leading scientific peer-review journal, Nature, doing good research is now frowned upon. You have to fake it to get published.

It is going to take decades of courageous work by many honest scientists — willing to risk their careers — to bring true science and research back to its roots and the goal of searching only for truth. The good news, however, is that with both of these essays we might finally be seeing the first seeds of that effort.

(Hat tip to reader Steve Golson for sending me the second essay.)

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

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  • “Since the 1960s any skepticism of this model was generally treated as equivalent to believing in UFO’s, aliens, and the Face on Mars.”

    Throw out the Face on Mars (Bovine effluent), and add Sasquatch, all potentials as unlikely as they may be to believe are possible.

    Not a suit:

    And if it’s not a suit then what is it?

    Evidence is what it is, make of it what you will. It does not fit in with what you are comfortable accepting because it exists outside your reality? The universe does not care.

  • Bob Wilson

    Another critic of modern physics fads is Sabine Hosenfelder. She wrote a good book that I read and recommend and also publishes a blog.

    Her book is

    Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

    Sabine Hossenfelder
    Basic Books, Jun 12, 2018 – Science – 304 pages
    In this “provocative” book (New York Times), a contrarian physicist argues that her field’s modern obsession with beauty has given us wonderful math but bad science.
    Whether pondering black holes or predicting discoveries at CERN, physicists believe the best theories are beautiful, natural, and elegant, and this standard separates popular theories from disposable ones. This is why, Sabine Hossenfelder argues, we have not seen a major breakthrough in the foundations of physics for more than four decades.
    The belief in beauty has become so dogmatic that it now conflicts with scientific objectivity: observation has been unable to confirm mindboggling theories, like supersymmetry or grand unification, invented by physicists based on aesthetic criteria. Worse, these “too good to not be true” theories are actually untestable and they have left the field in a cul-de-sac. To escape, physicists must rethink their methods. Only by embracing reality as it is can science discover the truth.

  • markedup2

    Sabine’s YouTube channel is pretty good, too. I’m not a big fan of her weekly updates, but the other videos are good. She does fairly well when outside her lane. Doctor Becky is another good astrophysics YouTube channel – as long as she sticks to astrophysics.

  • wayne

    Eisenhower’s Farewell Address
    January 17, 1961

  • Calvin Dodge

    My skepticism is based on the apparently magical properties of dark matter. It’s supposedly 85% of the mass of the universe, but there’s no trace of it in our solar system.

  • wayne

    Ditto on the magical invisible pixie dust thing’.
    For more bridge-too-far stuff, delve into quantum field-theory, where they invent particles, some of which have never been identified.

  • wayne

    back to Eisenhower:

    “Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been over shadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

  • Max

    “we might finally be seeing the first seeds of that effort.“
    The universe is suddenly twice as old as we thought.

    Is star in our galaxy older than the universe.
    The ironclad hold on cosmology and physics is starting to crack. The equivalent of Galileo convincing the priest to look through the telescope. Will facts and observation overcome indoctrination and heresy?

  • wayne

    “No, The Universe isn’t 27 billions years old”
    Brian Keating / Allison Kirkpatrick (July, 2023)

    “What is the basis for this claim and why are media outlets and influencers promoting it so wildly? Listen in as Professor Allison Kirkpatrick (Kansas University) and I dissect the claims and where we go from here…”

  • Cotour

    Related: “Savvy researchers tailor their studies to maximize the likelihood that their work is accepted.”

    “The first thing the astute climate researcher knows is that his or her work should support the mainstream narrative ”

  • Cotour

    I am going to continue with the Sasquatch subject even though I understand that no one here especially will comment on it one way or another. But there it is all the same.

    A shock wave running through the leg muscles as the leg contacts the ground? The butt cheeks move? Big honkin boobs? A “lady’s” face that only a blind man or a mother could love? In a suit? Now that is some next level effects.

    Remember, the universe does not care what you are able to comprehend and understand or not.

  • wayne

    Sasquatch, Loch Ness creature, Crop Circles, and Chupacabra = fake.
    UFO’s= more real than they admit.

  • Cotour

    I am with you one the UFO / UAP subject Wayne.

    But you are going to have to study and analyze the MKDAVIS video analysis, it is just not a suit.

    If its not a suit, then what exactly is it?

    Native Americans have over 400 names for Sasquatch over thousands of years due their experience with them.. What’s that about?

    I know, its a crazy subject, but there it is anyway.

    Nessie? I have not seen any evidence that says it is one thing or another or that it exists at all.

    Sasquatch? Evidence.

  • Cotour

    While we are on the subject of mind-blowing, get your brain wrapped around this, lets take a trip to Egypt.

    And I will assume you are aware of what was accomplished by the Egyptians 5000 years ago.

    But first lets take a look at this one “little” project which took this guy 7 weeks to nibble away at to just make 1 bathtub out of a granite boulder:

    And of course he used a heavy equipment and multiple powered diamond cutting tools.

    Absolute precision, granite within thousandths of an inch:

    Mind blowing.

    Not to mention that the pyramids were supposedly built in 20 years? 20 years? 2.5 million blocks plus massive multiple hundreds of tons of internal granite structures.

    The pyramids, built? Or excavated?

    The more you study it the more puzzling it becomes, just like studying the universe and how old it is or what exactly it is composed of.

  • pzatchok

    I have never believed in dark mater or dark energy.

    How does a new dark energy force push galaxies apart but does not push molecules and atoms apart.

    Newtonian physics works on both the small and large scale. Until you try to slip in Dark stuff.

    They need to admit they just do not know YET or that they have their ,measurements wrong.

  • TallDave

    a bit overwrought

    inhomogenous cosmologies like timescape that don’t assume flat FLRW don’t need dark energy to explain observations in conflict with lambdaCDM

    dark matter can be explained by relic PBHs from the quark-gluon plasma era

    no new particles or physics needed

  • Edward

    pzatchok asked: “How does a new dark energy force push galaxies apart but does not push molecules and atoms apart.

    First, let me start by saying that I, too, am extremely skeptical about dark energy and dark matter. The proof that they are real is that the astronomers and astrophysicists are unable to explain their observations without them. Ether was essentially proved the same way, until it vaporized in a flash of quantum mechanics. It just does not seem to occur to these guys that maybe they have some errors in their observations that they have yet to account for (e.g. maybe the supernovas that they use for distance tracking are not as exact as they calculate). They also do not explain the asymmetry of the expansion. The three axes expand at different rates (+/-“X” axis is one rate and +/- “Y” and “Z” are a different rate).

    Supposedly, the forces of dark energy and dark matter are very weak. They are like gravity, which is the weakest of the kn own forces; it is only responsible for holding the entire universe together. In fact, dark matter is gravity, a supposedly missing mass that would explain why galaxies don’t seem to follow the rules of gravity, based upon the matter that we can see (stars and the X-rays of black holes). Atoms and molecules are held together by the strongest of the forces, and the “anti-gravity” of dark energy is far too weak to affect such small structures.

    On the other hand, the very tiny effect of relativity is observable in Mercury’s orbit, so we could try to find indications of the effects of dark energy and dark matter in its orbit, or Pluto’s orbit, or elsewhere. I keep wondering what distribution of dark matter would explain the observations of galactic rotation. Wouldn’t it also effect the attractions of galaxy clusters, too, both within and between clusters?

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