Cosmology’s fatal weakness—underdetermination

Can we definitively know the global structure of spacetime? This is a good question. It is one that is actively discussed in the area of the philosophy of modern physics.1,2

However it is a question that highlights the fundamental weakness of cosmology and hence of cosmogony. (Cosmology is the study of the structure of the cosmos whereas cosmogony is the study of the origin of the universe.)  That weakness is the inherent inability to accurately construct any global cosmological model, i.e. a model that accurately represents the structure of the universe at all times and locations. The reason for this is underdetermination.3

“There seems to be a robust sense in which the global structure of every cosmological model is underdetermined.”1

In the philosophy of science, underdetermination means that the available evidence is insufficient to be able to determine which belief one should hold about that evidence. That means that no matter what cosmological model one might conceive of, in an attempt to describe the structure of the universe, every model will be underdetermined. Or said another way, no matter what amount of observational data one might ever (even in principle) gather, the cosmological evidence does not force one particular model upon us. And this underdetermination has been rigorously proven.1 Continue reading

Stephen Hawking and imaginary time

The imaginary time axis is drawn orthogonal to the real time axis. Credit: Wikimedia commons

Update 14/03/2018 Professor Stephen Hawking died today. See his obituary here. From all I have read he remained an ardent atheist his whole life. And he never really understood the worldview issue in cosmology and the origin of the universe. This proves that even very smart people can get it wrong. Nevertheless he gave us much to ponder, debate and learn. 

What is imaginary time? I don’t mean the time you spend day-dreaming but the concept in physics, promoted by theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. It is used in some quantum mechanics and special relativity theory. Imaginary time is where the usual time dimension undergoes a Wick rotation (a phase rotation)1 so that its coordinates are multiplied by the imaginary number the square root of -1, represented by the symbol i. In such a situation time theoretically behaves like a spatial dimension.

Stephen Hawking Credit: Wikipedia

Hawking wrote:2

“One might think this means that imaginary numbers are just a mathematical game having nothing to do with the real world. From the viewpoint of positivist philosophy, however, one cannot determine what is real. All one can do is find which mathematical models describe the universe we live in. It turns out that a mathematical model involving imaginary time predicts not only effects we have already observed but also effects we have not been able to measure yet nevertheless believe in for other reasons. So what is real and what is imaginary? Is the distinction just in our minds?” (emphasis added)

Positivism is the philosophy that we cannot determine what is real, but we can only propose hypotheses and test those against what we observe. Hawking is an atheist—an anti-theist—and has spent some time attempting to show that the Creator is unneeded in the universe.

Hawking claims that imaginary time is as real as real time, only that it is travelling in a different direction.3 He claims that ‘before’ the big bang time was imaginary and thus there was no time. Imaginary time may have “always existed” he said, but because we have no idea of what the laws of physics were ‘before’ the big bang, and there is no way to measure what happened ‘before’ the big bang, hence there is no point including time back then in a discussion of our universe. Continue reading

No CMB shadows: an argument against the big bang that can no longer be sustained

In the past I have made the argument that the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, ‘light’ allegedly from the big bang fireball, casts no shadows in the foreground of galaxy clusters.1 If the big bang were true, the light from the fireball should cast a shadow in the foreground of all galaxy clusters. This is because the source of the CMB radiation, in standard big bang cosmology, is what is known as the last scattering surface.

The last scattering surface is the stage of the big bang fireball that describes the situation when big bang photons cooled to about 1100 K. At that stage of the story those photons separated from the plasma that had previously kept them bound. Then expansion of the universe is alleged to have further cooled those photons to about 3 K, which brings them into the microwave band. Thus if these CMB photons cast no shadows in front of all galaxy clusters it spells bad news for the big bang hypothesis.

Fig 1: Schematic of the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect that results in an increase in higher energy (or blue shifted) photons of the CMB when seen through the hot gas present in cluster of galaxies. Credit:

The CMB radiation shadowing effect, or more precisely the cooling effect, by galaxy clusters is understood in terms of the Sunyaev–Zel’dovich Effect (SZE). This is where microwave photons are isotropically scattered by electrons in the hot inter-cluster medium (ICM) (see Fig. 1) via an inverse Compton process leaving a net decrement (or cooling) in the foreground towards the observer in the solar system. Of those CMB photons coming from behind the galaxy cluster less emerge with the same trajectory due to the scattering. Even though the scattered photons pick up energy from the ICM the number of more energetic CMB photons is reduced. After modelling what this new CMB photon energy (hence temperature) should be, a decrement can, in principle, be detected.

Starting around 2003 some published investigations, using this SZE, looked for the expected shadowing/cooling effect in galaxy clusters. No significant cooling effect was found by many, including some from the WMAP satellite data.2 This was considered to be very anomalous, significantly different from what was expected if the CMB radiation was from the big bang fireball. The anomaly was even confirmed by the early Planck satellite survey data in 2011.3

Continue reading

Synchronised dance of dwarf galaxies stumps big bang boffins

Dwarf galaxies around our galaxy the Milky Way, the Andromeda galaxy and now Centaurus A galaxy provide further evidence that the big bang belief is ‘baloney’. These dwarf galaxies have now been shown to orbit their parent galaxies in a synchronized manner, whereas according to the big bang idea, that should just not be the case.

The galaxy Centaurus A is viewed by the European Southern Observatory in 2012. Scientists studying the galaxy and several dwarf galaxies surrounding it are stumped by their behavior. (AFP photo / ESO)

The standard big bang cosmology has the formation of galaxies resulting from the collapse of a chaotic cloud of matter. As a result, it is expected from a secular worldview, that when large galaxies formed, such as our Milky Way galaxy and the galaxy Centaurus A, that small satellite dwarf galaxies would form around them but that their orbits would be essentially random, reflecting the chaotic nature of their origin.

In an online article on this recent discovery we read (all bold emphases in citations from this article are my additions):1

The model predicts that during formation, dwarf galaxies should both appear and move randomly around their host galaxies.

“There should be pure chaos and not order,” said Müller. “To find everywhere we look this extreme order where we expect disorder — this is strange.”

The big bang has long needed the hypothetical, never-observed stuff known as ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ to make it work. This latest discovery just compounds the difficulties, even with these ‘fudge factors’ already in place. But if they don’t assume dark matter they would not get a galaxy to form. And when they do assume its presence in the galaxy the modelling indicates that several large satellite galaxies should form with chaotic orbits.

Note the admission in what follows about ‘tooth fairies’ in regard to dark matter and dark energy. Also, the comment about the standard big bang cosmology collapsing “like a house of cards” if there continues to be no evidence of these:1

“At this point, there is a mountain of such contradictory details that we’ve mostly swept under the proverbial rug,” McGaugh said. “Dark matter and dark energy have been around so long that people forget that we backed into them. They’re tooth fairies that we invoked early on to make things work out.” And if no one finds evidence of dark matter, he said, then “the paradigm collapses like a house of cards.”

This is what I have been warning about for some time.  The article goes on:

So perhaps Müller and his team have found yet another statistical outlier, or perhaps isolated galaxies work differently from large groups of galaxies. Or maybe they have found yet another problem with the generally accepted theory of cosmology.

Let There Be Light

by Jim Gibson

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

As someone once said, “the first four words of the Bible are some of the most sublime words ever written.” In fact, that first creation day contains mysteries that the mind of man will never be able to comprehend. In this feeble attempt, I want to highlight just a few of these unfathomable secrets. This is not a scientific paper as such, rather, it is theological which contains inherent scientific concepts. Obviously, what I will present to the reader are just my own beliefs and thoughts regarding some of the mysteries involved in God’s creation of light.

In the beginning. This phrase denotes the element of time. Thus, it speaks to the origin of time itself. As a biblical creationist, I accept the fact that God as Creator exists outside the boundaries of time and His own creation. Here, in this verse, it alludes to the idea that God created time. To have time, matter must exist.

This verse has become a gateway for a controversy that exists within Christianity today. Many Christians support the idea that God used the vehicle of evolution to bring about His creation. Those that do so also embrace cosmic evolution. Cosmic evolution accepts the alleged Big Bang and the belief that our universe “evolved” over a period of billions of years. If one were to take the plain meaning of Jesus’ words, then they would discover that Jesus did not share this view. In fact, his words denounce such an inference. We find in scripture that Jesus placed the creation of man at the very beginning of creation. There is not a gap or billions of years found within the Creation Week. If Jesus were to address the Church today regarding this issue, I believe He might begin with these words, “Have ye not read.” The Jews of Jesus’ day knew exactly His point of reference when He used the word “beginning” in the passages below.

“…Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.” (Matthew 19:4)

“But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.” (Mark 10:6)

God created. God is the “First Cause.” He is transcendent of His creation, that is, God exists apart from and not subject to that which He created. To the secular scientist, this is incomprehensible. The Hebrew word “bara” is here translated created. The Latin phrase for this word is ex nihilo, which essentially means, “out of nothing.” As others have pointed out, this word is only used in the context with God, never man. Contrary to secular science, and the supposed Big Bang, there really was nothing. There were no quanta (energy particles) or matter. What an awesome God we serve! True are the words of the writer of the book of Hebrews, “For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful…” Yes, He spoke, and matter began to exist as did time.

The heaven and the earth. Many Hebrew scholars say that the phrase, heaven and earth, is a merism. A merism is a term which means that two contrasting words denote the entirety or totality of a thing. The example given for it in a dictionary is, “I searched high and low.” In other words, he searched everywhere. So, in this first verse, the Bible declares that God created all matter which He would use to form the universe. Continue reading

Helicobacter pylori eradicated! My battle won in 2017!

Helicobacter pylori is a nasty bacterium that inhabits the stomach and GI tract of a large percentage of the world’s population. It can cause many symptoms, some very serious. Credit: Wikipedia

On December 21, 2017, I received the result of my last test (a h. pylori antigen stool test) to see if I have eradicated the helicobacter pylori (h.pylori bacteria) overgrowth in my body, which caused me so much pain and suffering for the past 10 years, especially when trying to overcome them this year (2017). The result of that test was that those horrible bugs have been eliminated. No h. pylori were detected! That is absolutely great news. Believe me, it is not something you would wish on your worst enemy.

During these past 12 months, particularly, I have had many scary symptoms that made me think that this was the end for me. It has been a long journey that seemed like it would never end, with periods of suffering great pain and a lot of anxiety. The anxiety was not some much about dying, as I am prepared to depart this world to be with the Lord. The anxiety was more about the pain and suffering, that it would continue. Overall my body weight dropped from 73 kg to 63 kg, losing a kilogram per week, with no end in sight. The h. pylori had so affected cells in my stomach that I had no desire to eat anything. And based on my calorie calculations I should have maintained body weight but due to a compromised gut I was losing weight rapidly.  I got down to a body weight that I have not had since being a teenager.

My story

I did not want to write this report until I got a negative result back from a h. pylori test.  And I write the following because of all the online forum comments I read, when I was going through some very hard times, that help me enormously. I hope my testimony might help others likewise. The wide variety of symptoms made it very hard to believe a single cause was possible. But as it now turns out most of the strange and varied symptoms I experienced were due to an h. pylori overgrowth in my stomach.

One of the earliest episodes I can remember occurred in Madrid Spain in 2006. I was attending a theoretical physics conference and one lunch, after drinking a single glass of red wine (as they do there) I started to feel dizzy, and very strange feeling came over me, as though all the blood rushed out of my head. I became extremely fatigued even to the point I found it hard to climb a few steps. I developed chills and cold sweats. One waitress asked me if I was alright, looking at me as though I had just seen a ghost. I also had gastric reflux but I had had that for years and had not considered it to be any sort of problem.  I left the conference for the refuge of my hotel room and rested. The next morning I felt pretty much normal again but after the lunch that next day it all returned just as before. This really worried me — not only that I had these symptoms but also I developed chest pains on my left side and down my left arm.

The next day I was to fly to Israel to visit with Prof. Carmeli of Ben Gurion University. I thought about my heart but also thought if I was developing a heart problem I would be better off in Israel. The next morning I went to the airport feeling very sick, with chest pains and cold sweats, and very fatigued. I tried to put on a good face as El Al airline security personnel interview you personally. Thankfully I arrived safely and went straight to the Carmeli’s house. On arrival Mrs Carmeli said to me: “You look awful!” She also said if I was not feeling better she’s take me to the hospital the next morning. I wasn’t better and she took me in to Beer Sheva General Hospital. I presented with all the symptoms of ischemia and so they tested me for this. In fact, they were so concerned they checked me into their cardiac unit, asked me if I could call any close relative, and tested me for any evidence of a heart attack. They required I do a stress test on a treadmill but I was so fatigued I could not get up to the diagnostic heart rate. Nevertheless they released me after 2 day finding no evidence of a heart problem. They said they do not know what was causing all the symptoms. Continue reading

The Cosmological Argument and an eternal big bang universe

The beginning of the universe in time is the single biggest bug-bear for the secular cosmologists. They must eliminate the need for the beginning in order that they can eliminate the need for the Creator Himself. If you have an origin in time, you can argue that anything that exists, and had a beginning in time, also had to have a Creator.

This is the Cosmological Argument. And if the big bang cosmologist agrees the universe exists and began to exist at some moment in time past, then it also had to have had a cause–a first cause. That first cause can only have been an infinite Creator, who is greater than the universe itself.

Some long age/old earth Christian apologists use this argument starting with the assumption that the big bang was a real historical event. That also is a flawed approach even though they use valid logic after the fact. Their initial assumption–their starting premise–is not a fact (or cannot be proven to be a fact) and hence the rest of their argument fails.

But what would these apologists, like W.L. Craig or H. Ross, say when the secular big bang theorists continue to push towards the elimination of the origin in time, even the big bang beginning itself?

Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel is quoted (September 21, 2017) in an article in Forbes titled “The Big Bang Wasn’t The Beginning, After All”:

The conclusion was inescapable: the hot Big Bang definitely happened, but doesn’t extend to go all the way back to an arbitrarily hot and dense state. Instead, the very early Universe underwent a period of time where all of the energy that would go into the matter and radiation present today was instead bound up in the fabric of space itself. That period, known as cosmic inflation, came to an end and gave rise to the hot Big Bang, but never created an arbitrarily hot, dense state, nor did it create a singularity. What happened prior to inflation — or whether inflation was eternal to the past — is still an open question, but one thing is for certain: the Big Bang is not the beginning of the Universe! [my emphases added]

He states his belief as if fact, i.e. that the big bang definitely happened, even though cosmology is not actually science. See Cosmology is Not Science! His theory has no super-dense initial singularity.  But he assumes, as fact, an early period of cosmic inflation (which is a best speculative), which eventually finished and gave rise to the hot big bang fireball that the rest of this universe allegedly evolved from. He leaves open the question whether the universe was eternally inflating in the past, but the one thing he is certain of is that the big bang was not the beginning of the universe. Others have proposed an eternal universe that eventually explodes in a big bang.

Eliminate the need for the big bang to be the beginning in time and eventually they hope they can eliminate any need for the Creator Himself. After all didn’t the universe create itself?

Quite obviously not. For, in the beginning God created the universe (Genesis 1:1).

Related Reading