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No. 97: Jan-Feb 1995

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Did the universe have a beginning?

" Abstract. The big bang theory postulates that the entire universe originated in a cosmic explosion about 15 billion years ago. Such an idea had no serious constituency until Edwin Hubble discovered the redshift of galaxy light in the 1920s, which seemed to imply an expanding universe. However, our ability to test cosmological theories has vastly improved with modern telescopes covering all wavelengths, some of them in orbit. Despite widespread acceptance of the big bang theory as a working model for interpreting new findings, not a single important prediction of the theory has yet been confirmed, and substantial evidence has accumulated against it. Here, we examine the evidence for the most fundamental postulate of the big bang, the expansion of the universe. We conclude that the evidence does not support the theory, and that it is time to stop patching up the theory to keep it viable, and to consider fundamentally new working models for the origin and nature of the universe in better agreement with the observations."

This paper's author, T. Van Flandern, dismisses quickly two pillars of the Big Bang; i.e., its supposed predictions of the cosmic microwave background and the abundances of light elements in the universe:

"The big bang made no quantitative prediction that the "background" radiation would have a temperature of 3 degrees Kelvin (in fact its initial prediction was 30 degrees Kelvin); whereas Eddington in 1926 had already calculated that the "temperature of space" produced by the radiation of starlight would be found to be 3 degrees Kelvin. And no element abundance prediction of the big bang was successful without some ad hoc parameterization to "adjust" predictions that otherwise would have been judged as failures."

(Van Flandern, Tom; "Did the Universe Have a Beginning?" Meta Research Bulletin, 3:25, September 15, 1994. Address of the Meta Research Bulletin: P.O. Box 15186, Chevy Chase, MD 20815)

From Science Frontiers #97, JAN-FEB 1995. 1995-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "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