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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 3�K, 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