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.)
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.
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