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No. 82: Jul-Aug 1992

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Big-bang brouhaha

Unless you have been in a coma the past couple months, you have heard that the Big Bang has now been elevated from a theory to a fact. The reason for the media hullabaloo was the announcement that minute fluctuations had been detected in the cosmic microwave background. The media hype was notably chauvinistic. Some Big-Bang proponents declared that discovery was the greatest scientific advance of the century, completely ignoring the genetic code, continental drift, nuclear fission, and so on and so on.

More sober scientists rejected such extravagant claims. They pointed out that independent confirmation of the fluctuations was yet to come and that, after all, the fluctuations were very small (only some 30 millionths of a K). And which of the many variations of Big Bang was going to be enthroned? Even Nature advised extreme caution, quoting H. Bondi in this regard:

"...the data in cosmology are so likely to be wrong that I propose to ignore them."

(Anonymous; "Big Bang Brouhaha," Nature, 356:731, 1992.)

Comment. It is ironical that before astronomers found large-scale inhomogeneities in the cosmos (galactic clusters and superclusters, the Great Wall, etc.), the Big Bangers claimed that the very smoothness of the microwave background proved the reality of the Big Bang. The Big Bang, it seems, is one of those "politically correct" paradigms, which one criticizes at his peril.

(Beichman, Arnold; "The Big Bang Censorship," Insight, p. 22, April 13, 1992. Cr. B. Horstmann.)

Reference. To read more about the trials of the Big Bang hypothesis, see our catalog: Stars, Galaxies, Cosmos. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #82, JUL-AUG 1992. 1992-2000 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