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No. 72: Nov-Dec 1990

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Nature, hypothesis, and the big bang

As noted above, J. Maddox, Editor of the preeminent journal Nature, seems intent on muffling the Big Bang. Now we see a newly added section in Nature bearing the heading Hypothesis. Hypothesis "is intended as an occasional vehicle for scientific papers that fail to win the full-throated approval of the referees to whom they have been sent, but which are nevertheless judged to be of sufficient importance to command the attention of readers..." Certainly, this is a commendable development. But not surprisingly, the first paper is an at-tack on the Big Bang.

Most of the authors of this first article are familiar to readers of Science Frontiers: H. Arp (Not all redshifts are measures of receding velocity.); G. Burbidge (Quasars are not as far away as they seem.); and F. Hoyle (The multidisciplinary iconoclast who helped de velop the Steady State theory of the universe.) None of these scientists has recanted, even in face of not-so-subtle pressures to conform.

The first paper in Hypothesis. Arp et al summarize in two sentences:

"We discuss evidence to show that the generally accepted view of the Big Bang model for the origin of the Universe is unsatisfactory. We suggest an alternative model that satisfies the constraints better."

Most of the paper sets out observational evidence for the authors' main themes, as stated parenthetically above following their names. Space is also devoted to the contention that the vaunted "proofs" of the Big Bang are really not. Since these themes have appeared repeatedly in Science Frontiers, we will bypass details here. The paper concludes with suggestions for an alternative to the Big Bang, which is based upon multiple creation events -- thousands of them, each on the scale of superclusters of galaxies! (Arp, H.C., et al; "The Extragalactic Universe: an Alternative View," Nature, 346:807, 1990.)

Comment. There are two ironies:

Irony #1. J. Maddox, Nature's editor, while trying to encourage alternatives to the Big Bang on one hand, has been most fierce in suppressing Benveniste's infinite-dilution research and cold fusion, although perhaps with some justification.

Irony #2. In their conclution, Arp et al remark: "Geology progressed favour-ably from the time Hutton's principle of uniformity was adopted, according to which everything in geology is to be explained by observable ongoing processes." They then suggext that cosmology and cosmogony might well adopt such an outlook! Hasn't geology actually been imprisoned by uniformitarianism?

Reference. The cosmological problems posed by Arp are found throughout our catalog: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #72, NOV-DEC 1990. 1990-2000 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