An update: Correspondence on cosmology

This is my reply to a friend from the same university that I left two years ago to give him an update to my cosmology related research.

I hope you don’t mind but I thought I would take this opportunity to answer your questions but also post this on my blog so that others who might have similar questions can get answers. I have coloured your text in green with my responses inter-dispersed in black.

I’ve recently watched the “Evolution’s Achilles Heels” documentary and was impressed by some of the points that were raised.img2038

I am glad you enjoyed it and it raised questions in your mind. Then it achieved its purpose.

This has led me to your YouTube channel where I have watched your videos “Cosmic Mythology: Dismantling the Big Bang Theory” and “Starlight, Time and the New Physics”, which I really enjoyed as I’ve got a background in astronomy (I majored in Physics, Applied Maths and Astrophysics at UWA, similar to you I guess.)

I have added hyperlinks to the two videos I believe you must mean.

Your videos (and some research) have convinced me that dark matter doesn’t exist and is simply invoked as a free parameter to account for the shortcomings of Newtonian mechanics in explaining large scale phenomena (rotation curves, galaxy cluster motions etc). Similarly for dark energy (invoked to explain the accelerated expansion). This is nailed home by the fact that neither has been observed despite prolonged efforts of detection. Thank you for helping illuminate this for me.

In cosmology it really is General Relativity that is used, though often in the Newtonian (or weak gravity) limit.

I’m also really impressed by your work with Carmeli in deriving a big bang model that requires no dark energy/dark matter (even though I don’t believe in the big bang, I think it’s a step in the right direction – Newtonian mechanics clearly cannot account for large scale apparent motion in the cosmos). 

His formulation was some sort of extension on Einstein’s General Relativity, hence Carmeli called it Cosmological General Relativity. But to be fair it is quite a departure from GR because Carmeli uses a new dimension, which he called a velocity dimension. Thus on the cosmological scale it was spacevelocity and not spacetime. Carmeli’s theory does not need the fudge factors of Dark Energy and Dark Matter for it to fit observations, but it does need this new dimension, which is very difficult to conceive of.

What is a velocity dimension? I do not know. Essentially Carmeli treated it as redshift and used the mathematical formalism of Einstein’s field equations. I followed the same approach. But I have never been happy with his new dimension. And his Cosmological Special Relativity theory (which is where he began, and is the title of his first book on this) I believe is fundamentally flawed. It has problems which I could not see how to overcome. But the spacevelocity theory applied to large scale structure of the universe seems to work quite well. I say this to highlight that his theory has unsolved problems (more than I have mentioned here) and it is not a magic bullet.

Does this model also account for the observed gravitational lensing effects (further evidence used by scientists to invoke dark matter)?

Carmel RelativityThis is a good question. I acted as the Editor of his last book (which I contributed chapters to). Carmeli had contracted to World Scientific to produce the book “Relativity: Modern Large-Scale Spacetime Structure of the Cosmos” but he died in 2007 before he could finish it. His wife asked me if I could help, and so I finished the editing and compilation of the chapters, though his name appears on the cover as Editor.

I say all that because it gave me an insight into his thinking. Working with his personal assistant (with a PhD in cosmology) we found several sections by him, new material never before published, some of which did not make sense. So we had to delete those sections, because he could not correct them. So we were acting as not only an editor would but also as referees.

One of the new sections, which I did not see a problem with, has a new term in the expansion terms for gravitational lensing. And the book was published with that section. It had the same terms as Einstein’s GR would produce and one more that was redshift dependent, which seemed to come from his spacevelocity theory. I was excited by this and wanted to examine where this might lead to, especially in regards to claimed dark matter, needed in galaxy clusters because of its claimed detection via gravitational lensing.

On closer examination, with a graduate student, I soon realized that Carmeli had made a mistake and the theory was inconsistent, hence invalid for the purposes he claimed. So all that to say, Carmeli does not offer any new insights there.

One point that excited me was the ‘Axis of Evil’ find in the CMB. Would I be correct in stating there are two possible conclusions:

  1. The isotropic principle is violated and we live in a unique position in the cosmos.
  2. The isotropic principle is not violated but the observed ‘CMB’ is physically associated with our solar system and is therefore not a real remnant of the big bang?

When you say isotropic principle you mean the cosmological principle that says our location in space is not special in any way. I would say the cosmological principle is violated. See The cosmological principle and geocentrism.

Either way bad news for the standard model right?

Yes it is.

You stated that the secular cosmological community largely ignore Carmeli’s work. This baffles me a little as it is clear that this his model is more parsimonious and is still a Big Bang model so would not have any significant philosophical implications for atheists (Or would it?).

His was a big bang model. But it was ignored by physicists because it was a significant departure from the standard model.

Do they perhaps cling to this model because of the time and money spent in attempting to detect dark matter?

Yes, I think ultimately those sort of factors are involved. But it would be more that the standard model is believed to solve basically everything, so why look elsewhere. The expression ‘precision cosmology’ is now used.

Or is it simply a matter of the concepts of dark matter and dark energy having reached the status of dogma?

Dark matter and Dark energy are taken as serious components of the universe by most cosmologists who agree with the big bang cosmology and cosmogony. In that sense they are already part of the dogma.

Or does the model have other shortcomings that I’ve missed?

The big bang has many shortcomings. I have listed some of them here: Does the claimed ‘find’ of dark matter end the ‘big bang’ crisis? But also you will find many articles on my website here.

You also mentioned a researcher deriving a particular geometric description of space and time using 3 space dimensions and 2 time dimensions, and that the 2nd time dimension could possibly correspond to the velocity dimension in Carmeli’s model. Any updates on this?

I think this must be about work I have been doing with Dr Chappell at the University of Adelaide. See here. This work generalizes the Minkowski metric of spacetime to higher dimensions in the sense that time gets new dimensions which are quaternions. It has its scalar part that represents the forward arrow of time (that we are very familiar with) but it seems to also have a vector part that could represent an extension that is something like Carmeli arrived at. It certainly hints at notions in particle physics where time in reversible. It also suggests that time is merely a property of matter itself. But more work needs to be done on that, though the ideas have merit.

In regards to the Halton Arp quasar findings, the key point for me rests on the following…
You state that due to the high redshift quasars being physically associated with low redshift galaxies ‘the assumed distances to most of the most distant objects are wrong’. When you say ‘most’ are you saying that when Hubble’s law is invoked to calculate distances of objects in ‘deep space’, that these objects are usually quasars?

Yes, that is correct. So for them the Hubble Law does not apply. I am working on a paper on this currently with Dr Chris Fulton and Dr Arp is also an author. Unfortunately he died over a year ago now but the Editors have allowed him to remain on the paper. Chris authored a paper with Halton Arp (C. C. Fulton and H. C. Arp, 2012, Astrophysical Journal 754 134) on Galaxy quasar associations and he worked briefly at UWA as my PhD student. Those efforts will show a strong correlation on the sky, way above random noise, for association of quasars with parent galaxies.

Or do quasars only make up a small proportion of ‘deep space’ objects (with the rest being say ordinary galaxies)?

No. If you speak of the very high redshift sources, they are mostly quasars.

Because if quasars are the majority of ‘deep space’ objects then I believe these findings make a strong case against Hubble’s law (and even the expansion of space by implication), however if they are only a small proportion of ‘deep space’ objects then perhaps the anomaly redshifts would be best explained as an intrinsic effect unique to quasars and that Hubble’s law can no longer be applied to quasars but still be applied to the rest of the ‘deep space’ objects. Thoughts?

Yes, see The heavens declare a different story!

Concerning the periodic redshifts you’ve found in the Sloan Survey galaxy data, I’ve found the following opposing views and was just wondering if these were outdated or still legitimate?

In 2002, Hawkins et al. found no evidence for a redshift quantization in the 2dF survey and found using Napier’s own guidelines for testing redshift periodicity that none, in fact, could be detected in the sample:

Given that there are almost eight times as many data points in this sample as in the previous analysis by Burbidge & Napier (2001), we must conclude that the previous detection of a periodic signal arose from the combination of noise and the effects of the window function [26] Is your Sloan survey data as big as Hawkins data? Is it more recent? Is this conclusion still valid?

This topic needs to be divided into 3 subtopics:

  1. Very fine scale quantization of galaxy redshifts found in pencil-beam studies
  2. Larger scale quantization of galaxy redshifts as found in the large robot galaxy surveys.
  3. Large scale quantization of quasar redshifts as found in the large robot quasar surveys.

In regards to the first category, the redshift quantization at the interval level of 0.00024 (or 72km/s), I have not much to contribute. That was the work by Tifft, Napier, Guthrie, Burbidge etc. People like Morley Bell and others developed theories on that, but to my knowledge no one has ever explained it. I tend not to believe it is a real space effect else it would mean galaxies lying equidistant at 1 million light-year spacings.

The Hawkins et al. (2001) analysis is in the third category. I believe Burbidge answered his objections, showing that Hawkins et al. did not take into account several important factors, including transforming into the local rest frame of the putative parent galaxy of the quasar under investigation. At high redshifts for the parent galaxies the quantization effects of the quasars would be hard to be seen in the bulk surveys because their intrinsic redshifts would be contaminated by a large Hubble Law (or distance related) redshift.

In regards to the second category, in 2008, with a co-author Hirano (Hartnett & Hirano, Astrophysics & Space Science (2008) 318: 13–24), I showed a possible quantization, at least in redshift space, for galaxies in both the 2dF and the Sloan surveys. Since then I had hoped to narrow down the possibility that it could be a real space effect. That would put our galaxy somewhere near the cosmological centre of the local universe. Since we are only measuring redshifts, which can also be due to Doppler motion and flows of galaxies, not only Hubble expansion (if you believe the Universe is expanding), it could be purely a redshift space effect and therefore we would not be able to draw any definitive conclusion about a special location is space.

Work is continuing on that with Jason Lisle and Jake Hebert at the ICR. However, when one makes the assumption that the parts of the Universe we can’t see are essentially like those that we can, it could well be that any quantization effects in the galaxy redshifts, and the centering of those effects near our place in the universe, are not real space effects at all. They may result from what is known as the bulls-eye effect, which is purely a redshift space effect, resulting from bulk flows of galaxy clusters and the preferential line-of-sight component we see in the Doppler motion of galaxies around us.  However, please wait for the outcome of that research.

Nevertheless, due the very problem that cosmology has, cosmic variance, which results from the very fact that we cannot see all that we need to in the Universe, and we don’t know what a typical universe should look like, we can never actually rule out the idea that we are located in a special place. The cosmological principle assumes we are not based on philosophical criteria only.

In 2006, M. B. Bell and D. McDiarmid, reported: “Six Peaks Visible in the Redshift Distribution of 46,400 SDSS Quasars Agree with the Preferred Redshifts Predicted by the Decreasing Intrinsic Redshift Model”.[5] The pair acknowledged that selection effects were already reported to cause the most prominent of the peaks.[7] Nevertheless, these peaks were included in their analysis anyway with Bell and McDiarmid questioning whether selection effects could account for the periodicity, but not including any analysis of this beyond cursory cross-survey comparisons in the discussion section of their paper. There is a brief response to this paper in a comment in section 5 of Schneider et al. (2007) [28] where they note that all “periodic” structure disappears after the previously known selection effects are accounted for. Do you think the weak periodic structure in your findings can be attributed to selection effects (or anything else) or do you think the best explanation is a violation of the isotropic principle?

Actually very interesting that you bring this up. The Bell & McDiarmid (2006) paper is about quantization of quasar redshifts in the Sloan quasar survey. I discovered the selection effect and published a paper on this in Astrophysics & Space Science (2009) 324: 13–16. Then Morley Bell followed that with a paper (Bell & Comeau Astrophysics & Space Science (2010) 326: 11–17) that explained how a poor choice of filters in that robot survey telescope caused the selection effect with strongly mimicked redshift quantization. Then Schneider et al. placed their accepted 2010 paper on the pre-print server, covering the latest data release at that time (DR7). They included two pages (page 17, and page 30 with Fig. 7 in preprint) explaining how they had to cut and throw away about half of the quasars sampled (105,783 quasars) in the survey to correct for the selection effect. I wrote to Schneider and showed him our two papers, and Schneider cited them in the final published version (Schneider, D.P. et al. 2010, Astronomical Journal, 139: 2360-2373).

So there was a real problem. And on the surface it would be very difficult to use that data set to look for any intrinsic quasar redshift quantization. However, as mentioned above, Chris Fulton and I are still looking, by trying to correlate putative parent galaxies with ejected quasar and the Karlsson quantized redshifts are part of the algorithm used. It is too early to say, but preliminary result look very clear. Associations strongly result and they require quasars with redshifts close to the Karlsson series. Using that approach, the selection effect (a Malmquist bias) does not cause a problem.

The wikipedia article, from which you are cutting and pasting the bulk of the text of your questions, is way out of date.

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