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No. 17: Fall 1981

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Was there really a big bang?

Narlikar says, "Maybe not," and proceeds to tick off observational evidence against it. He begins, however, by pointing out the philosophical impasse encountered as Big Bang proponents look backward to time = 0 and earlier. Where did the matter/energy of the Big Bang come from? Was the venerable Law of Conservation of Mass/Energy violated? Big Bangers loftily dismiss such questions as "nonsense." Narlikar follows with some observational problems of the Big Bang:

  1. There seem to be objects in the universe that are older than the Big Bang age of the universe (9-13 billion years);
  2. Quasar redshifts used to support the Big Bang theory may arise from the general expansion of the universe;
  3. The microwave background radiation of 3K, which was gleefully embraced by Big Bangers as an echo of their version of creation, is actually of the same energy density as starlight, cosmic rays, etc., and need not have anything to do with the Big Bang; and
  4. The Big Bang Theory and General Relativity assume a constant G (the gravitational constant), but some recent lunar orbit measurements suggest that G is slowly decreasing!

(Narlikar, Jayant; "Was There a Big Bang?" New Scientist, 91:19, 1981.)

Comment. Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the whole Big Bang business is the contempt with which theory supporters dismiss all objections. Is the Big Bang a scientific theory or a belief system?

Reference. Observations challenging the Big Bang may be found throughout our Catalog: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. For information about this book, go to: here.

From Science Frontiers #17, Fall 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987