Is the Universe really expanding — the evidence revisited

3d expansion question markThe Hubble law, determined from the distances and redshifts of galaxies, for the past 80 years, has been used as strong evidence for an expanding universe. In 2011 I reviewed various lines of evidence for and against this claim. It included the lack of evidence for the necessary existence of time dilation in quasar and gamma-ray burst luminosity variations, angular size tests for galaxies as a function of redshift, the Tolman surface brightness test which is sensitive to expansion of the Universe, evidence that the CMB radiation is not from the background, which it should be if from the big bang fireball as alleged, intergalactic absorption lines due to hydrogen clouds and Lyman-α systems, and what they do tell us. Here I present that information again in light of my current understanding.

This review concluded that the observations could be used to describe either a static universe (where the Hubble law results from some as-yet-unknown mechanism) or an expanding universe described by the standard Λ cold-dark-matter model. In the latter case, the imposition of size evolution of galaxies is necessary to get agreement with observations. Yet the simple non-expanding (i.e. static) Euclidean universe fits most data with the least number of assumptions. I made a straw table comparison with the various lines of evidence to see how they stack up. It was found not to be definitive and hence the result equivocal. From this review it became quite apparent that there are still many unanswered questions in cosmology and it would be a mistake to base one’s theology on any particular cosmology. Far better to base you cosmology and theology on the clear narrative historical prescription in the Genesis account and elsewhere in the Scriptures. (This was first published in two parts in the Journal of Creation 25(3):109-120, 2011.)

Introduction

Ever since the late 1920s, when Edwin Hubble discovered a simple proportionality1 between the redshifts of the light coming from nearby galaxies and their distances, we have been told that the Universe is expanding. This relationship—dubbed the Hubble Law—has since been strengthened and extended to very great distances in the cosmos. Nowadays it is considered to be the established dogma of the expanding big bang universe. This means that the space that contains the galaxies is expanding and that the galaxies are essentially stationary in that space, but being dragged apart as the universe expands.

Hubble initially interpreted his redshifts as a Doppler effect, due to the motion of the galaxies as they rushed away from our location in the Universe. He called it a ‘Doppler effect’ as though the galaxies were moving ‘through space’—the space itself is not expanding but the galaxies are moving through space, and that is how some people, especially astronomers, initially perceived it. This is different to what has now become accepted, but observations alone cannot distinguish between the two concepts. Later in his life Hubble varied from his initial interpretation and said that the Hubble Law was due to some hitherto undiscovered mechanism, but not due to expansion of space—now called cosmological expansion.

The big bang expanding universe model essentially offers a coherent paradigm or explanatory framework which can, in principle, provide answers to a wide range of key cosmological questions; examples are the origin of extragalactic redshifts, the dynamical state of the Universe (i.e. not apparently collapsing under gravity), Olbers’ paradox (why is the night sky dark?), the origin of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation, the origin of galaxies, and the origin of the elements. The fact that its answers to some questions are currently unsatisfactory or unconvincing does not change the basic point that such a model will always be preferred to a more limited model such as a static Euclidean universe, which does not attempt to address such questions. In this sense the big bang model is necessarily preferable regardless of one’s theological position. Continue reading

Scripture and a static universe biblical creation cosmogony

2007_0507Image0132In regards to concepts relating to the Universe being static, that is, it is not expanding as is most commonly believed, I received the following email comment from a friend. His comments are in green text below.
I am curious what you think about Job 37:18:
 “Can you, like him, spread [Hebrew: רָקַע raqa`] out the skies, hard as a cast metal mirror?”
I have been looking at the equations for small bending of a thin plate under distributed load and they look the same as the GR equations in the case of weak fields if you treat the load on the plate as the gravitating mass and treat mechanical strain as the gravitational potential scaled by c-2
So, could raqia be a thin plate rather than a membrane? A plate supports load due to resistance to bending, while a membrane supports load due to tension and the edges. In contrast, plate does not need such tension. The only challenge is that plates aren’t easy to roll like a tent curtain, but Job 37:18 suggests that bending a hard thing isn’t a problem for God.

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Is Dark Matter the Unknown God?

CM Title imagePublished in Creation magazine 37(2):22-24, 2015.

Over years of researching cosmology and astrophysics, I have argued that ‘dark matter’ is a sort of ‘god of the gaps’,the ‘unknown god’. It is proposed mainly to rescue the standard big bang model from problems when a mismatch is found between the theory and some observations. However, secular cosmogonists (scientists who study the beginning of the universe) usually believe the big bang worldview to be correct as well as all its associated astrophysics. So they must postulate something invisible to explain the discrepancy. This ‘something’ is ‘dark matter’, a hypothetical substance that emits no light or radiation, so cannot be seen.

Several years ago, astronomers claimed that they now had direct empirical proof of the existence of ‘dark matter’.2 This was dutifully repeated in the popular media.3 It was claimed that this demolishes the criticisms of ‘dark matter skeptics’. The section entitled “Dark Matter Proof?” (below) explains this further, and shows how there are many competing explanations for the same evidence. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

Expansion of space – a Dark Science

 Abstract: “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He that formed you from the womb, I am the LORD that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by Myself;” (Isaiah 44:24 KJVER) Scriptural texts like this have been used by biblical creationists to justify God creating an expanding cosmos. Aside from arguing that the scriptures do indeed describe cosmological expansion, I contend that expansion of space is of itself not tenable as a mechanism for the expansion of the Universe, as often cited with the famous rubber balloon analogy. Relativity theory, properly applied, tells us that detection of the expansion of space by any local measurement is not possible. And if the æther is the substance of the Universe that has supposedly expanded, with the galaxies embedded therein, then it is fundamentally undetectable. This assigns cosmology firmly to the realms of philosophy and metaphysics.  Article first published by Answers Research Journal 7 (2014):453–458. PDF available here.

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