There’s a crisis in physics prompted by advanced technology including the new James Webb Space Telescope. The distant universe looks nothing like the Big Bang theory predicts, but instead of coming clean, astronomers are making excuses because some theories are too big to fail. It will be at least a decade before they admit the truth…
The scientific establishment hasn’t come out and said it yet, but astrophysicists are in a panic that the Big Bang theory, and hence all we think we know about the origin of the universe itself, is about to go down in flames, discarded on the ash heap of knowledge, the same as phlogiston and the aether. Panic isn’t a word I chose myself either. It’s taken from the title of a recent paper studying the images from the new James Webb Space Telescope, images that reveal a universe far different and older than what prevailing theory predicts. The situation is so dire that some scientists report waking up in the middle of the night in fits. “Right now I find myself lying awake at three in the morning and wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong,” explained Professor Allison Kirkpatrick on Twitter. Professor Kirkpatrick has good reason to be afraid: The scientific method requires that the predictions of a theory are born out in the real world, and modern technology like the new space telescope keep defying expectations. The crisis actually began with the original Hubble Space telescope, as early as 2014. The President and Chief Scientist of LPPFusion, Eric J. Lerner, also the author of The Big Bang Never Happened, recently described how much trouble the theory has been in for almost a decade. Writing for iai.tv, he noted that “the Big Bang makes 16 wrong predictions and only one right one.” Needless to say, this is not the track record from which successful theories are made.
It is, however, a cautionary tale about how even the noblest of endeavors, and personally I don’t consider much more noble than attempting to understand where everything around us came from, can become corrupt and biased, a victim of the never ending quest for money and group think that admits no error. This story begins over 100 years ago, when Vesto Stiphler discovered that light arriving from distant galaxies had a specific red shift. Known as the Doppler effect, this is the same phenomenon we experience with a passing siren on a police car, firetruck, or ambulance. The pitch is higher as the vehicle approaches because the sound waves are slightly compressed, but lower as it recedes because they are slightly stretched. Because light also travels in a wave, it works in much the same way. Mr. Stiphler’s discovery implied that objects in the distant universe could be moving away from us. The great astronomer Edward Hubble, whose name graces the first space telescope, expanded on this notion between 1924 and 1929, determining that the further away the galaxy, the greater the redshift, a correlation that came to be known as Hubble’s Law. Georges Lemaitre, a Belgian physicist and Roman Catholic Priest, put forward an idea about what this might all mean in 1931: The universe was expanding. He proposed that the universe was born from a “primeval atom,” essentially an early version of the Big Bang.
The idea remained controversial for decades, however. Even the name Big Bang was originally intended to mock it in favor of competing theories. It was coined by the English astronomer Fred Hoyle, who believed the universe existed in a steady state, refusing to believe time and space sprung from nothing. As he put it, “These theories were based on the hypothesis that all the matter in the universe was created in one big bang at a particular time in the remote past.” It wasn’t until 1965 that the theory really exploded with the discovery of the Cosmic Background Radiation at Bell Labs. In Holmdel, NJ, not far from where I attended high school, Arno Penzias and Robert Woodrow Wilson observed a curious thing: Wherever they pointed their telescopes, they found a constant level of background radiation permeating the entire universe. It was as if all reality was floating in a slightly salty sea of radiation. This Cosmic Background Radiation was uniform and constant in every direction. A gray slate background upon which the solar system, galaxy, and everything else unfolded. Proponents of the Big Bang had predicted something along these lines years earlier. The thinking was simple: If the entire universe originated from a single point, everything should be connected by a signature of the initial expansion, a remnant of when the world was one. Some scientists even tried to predict what this signature might look like, calculating ranges of a temperature of 5K up to 50K. The actual measurement was 3K, but it was close enough that discussions of other models for the origin of the universe rapidly fell out of favor and the Big Bang was ascendant. Over the years it has been refined and updated, introducing one new important data point in support of the idea, the percentage of a hydrogen isotope known as deuterium. According to the Big Bang’s cosmology, the universe began only with mostly elements, primarily hydrogen and helium. These elements formed in what is known as primordial nucleosynthesis, a mere 10 to 20 seconds after the initial explosion. The theory fails to predict the correct amount of helium, off by a factor of two, and other elements like lithium, a factor of 20, but it correctly accounts for the quantity of deuterium.
These three data points alone, the belief that the universe is expanding, the Cosmic Background Radiation, and the distribution of elements, were enough to cement the theory as fact. Pick up any cosmology book for lay people or any textbook from middle school on up, and there appears to be no argument: The expansion of the universe and the Cosmic Background Radiation are incontrovertible, there is no alternative explanation for either the redshift or the signature 3K temperature everywhere we look. It is only now that we are starting to admit that might not be the case, even though scientists have proposed alternative ideas for almost a century. In 1929, Fritz Zwicky introduced a concept known as “tired light” that might explain the redshift without the need for an expansionary universe. He believed that photons didn’t travel at a completely constant speed as described by Albert Einstein. Instead, they lost a small amount of energy over vast amounts of time and distance. The loss of energy causes the light to shift slightly red, and that shift should be proportional to the distance. Nor was this the only idea put forward. Helge Kragh, a Danish science historian, noted “Zwicky’s hypothesis was the best known and most elaborate alternative to the expanding universe, but it was far from the only one. More than a dozen physicists, astronomers and amateur scientists proposed in the 1930s tired-light ideas having in common the assumption of nebular photons interacting with intergalactic matter to which they transferred part of their energy.”
Likewise, there were some scientists who believed that the Cosmic Background Radiation could be explained by how light interacts with plasma, the most common state of matter in the universe. As Dr. Lerner described it, “One of the key processes in plasmas that Alfven and his colleagues identified, and which has been studied for 50 years, is plasma filamentation. This is the process by which electric currents, and the magnetic fields they create, draw plasma into the lacy system of filaments that we see at all scales in the universe from the aurorae in the earth’s atmosphere to the solar corona to galactic spiral arms, even to clusters of galaxies. Together with gravitational forces, plasma filamentation is one of the basic processes in the formation of planets, stars, galaxies and structures at all scales.” We do not know if this idea can fully account for the background radiation, because it hasn’t been properly studied. The Big Bang theorists would permit no discussion and funded almost no alternative research. Their theory was considered the truth, but as we have probed the depths of the universe and looked back billions of years in time, we have not seen a reality that matches the predictions of the Big Bang. The most distant objects we observe are instead both much larger and older than they should be if the theory was correct. The light we can see from distant stars began the long journey to Earth approximately 400-500 million years after the proposed date for the Big Bang. This means that we should be viewing the universe in its earliest stages, when stars were young and galaxies first started to form. If the Big Bang theory is correct, there should be a distinct optical illusion: Objects in distant space should appear larger than they are because the light we are seeing was emitted when they were closer. The snapshot we observe was taken when a galaxy was X distance away, but because the universe is expanding the galaxy is now X + Y distance removed. There is a broader, structural implication as well: Since everything we observe is affected by this illusion, all of distant space should appear much larger. In other words, the further out you look, the larger everything should seem. A universe that exists in a steady, or close to steady state, however, would not have such an effect. The galaxy in question would remain the same distance away and would appear its normal size, along with everything else. We would still be looking back in time, but without any changes in distance, the galaxies would all remain a constant relative size.
This is a crystal clear example of how the scientific method should match theory with experiment. The Big Bang and the necessarily expanding universe predicts something completely different than a universe of constant size. Unfortunately for proponents of the Big Bang, images from the James Webb Space Telescope and others captured in recent years do not show anything close to the predicted effects. The galaxies simply get smaller and smaller as far as we can tell, as you would expect from increasing distance alone. “Even galaxies with greater luminosity and mass than our own Milky Way galaxy appear in these images to be two to three times smaller than in similar images observed with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and the new galaxies have redshifts which are also two to three times greater,” Dr. Lerner explained. Dr. Lerner and his colleague, Riccardo Scarper have been studying images from the Hubble Space Telescope since 2014 and have long concluded that the universe doesn’t appear to be expanding. They were so confident in their findings they published a prediction of what the Webb telescope would reveal before any images were released. As he put it, the “JWST would show the same thing—which it already has, for galaxies having redshifts as high as 12. Put another way, the galaxies that the JWST shows are just the same size as the galaxies near to us.” The only way for the Big Bang to account for this is to assume these distant galaxies are abnormally small. How small? One galaxy, GhZ2, is said to be a mere 300 light years in radius, 150 times smaller than our own Milky Way, while somehow being far more luminous. In fact, it would have to be 600 times brighter than any galaxy near us, making it tens of thousands of times more dense.
Proponents of the Big Bang have been aware of these problems for years, proposing the existence of “Mighty Mouse” galaxies at the observable edge of the universe, but they still needed an explanation as to how these galaxies would grow into an average size. They posited that galaxies in the early universe frequently collided with one another, growing like droplets of water collecting in a puddle. Dr. Lerner poked fun at this approach, “An analogy to this hypothetical merger process would be to imagine a magical toy car a centimeter long that nonetheless weighs as much as a SUV and grows up into a real SUV by colliding with many other toy cars.” If this was truly t he case, there would be evidence of these collisions. Galaxies would not be well formed, especially in the early universe. They would be misshapen and mangled. Instead, even the article headlined by the word “Panic!” found that smooth, spiral galaxies are 10 times more common than thought, challenging “our ideas about mergers being a common process.” Except, if mergers aren’t a common process, there is no means for galaxies to grow to an average size. This is far from the only problem for the theory either: The distant edge of the universe appears to be far too old to support the Big Bang. We’re supposed to be witnessing the universe 400-500 million years after it came into existence, but we’re finding stars that are over a billion years old and far too many galaxies for such an early stage, somewhere around 100,000 times as many galaxies as predicted. Dr. Lerner summarized, “Too old and too many galaxies mean the same thing…Yet already some of the galaxies have shown stellar populations that are over a billion years old. Since nothing could have originated before the Big Bang, the existence of these galaxies demonstrates that the Big Bang did not occur.”
The question now becomes: How could the world’s leading scientists have gotten it so wrong for over 50 years? After all, science is supposed to be a field dedicated to following where the evidence leads, one where intrepid theoreticians and researchers have the freedom to propose new ideas that better match the evidence, where the free exchange of ideas without bias is sacrosanct. This is not simply an obscure, academic question either. The Big Bang is more than a scientific theory. It is philosophy and a lens with which we view the world and our place in it. It’s seen as confirmation that time and space are part of the same continuum, and both can be created from nothing. It drives billions of dollars and thousands of man hours of research into topics like Dark Energy, which was proposed to explain why the expansion of the universe is accelerating over time. It supports the entire edifice of modern physics, from General Relativity to the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It’s a staple of popular culture, even if a person is unaware of the details. Suddenly, however, it appears to be completely wrong and the real card carrying experts have had reason to be suspicious for years. Nor is this problem unique to the Big Bang. As I have posited for some time, modern physics has become increasingly divorced from the way the universe actually works. Rather than reflecting reality, it is driven by obscure, untested, unverifiable mathematical concepts that bear little or no relation to the real world.
This isn’t the way any of this is supposed to work. Why? Dr. Lerner believes dissenting voices, what should be the cornerstone of the entire scientific endeavor, have been systematically shut out. Where have I heard that before? He writes “as the crisis in cosmology became obvious in 2019, the cosmological establishment has circled the wagons to protect this failed theory with censorship, because it now has no other defense. It has now become almost impossible to publish papers critical of the Big Bang in any astronomical journals. An anonymous senior editor rejected my survey papers, writing ‘There are many journals which would be interested in publishing a well-argued synthesis of existing evidence against the standard hot big bang interpretation. But MNRAS, with its focus on publication of significant new astronomical results, is not one of them’. The replies from several other journals were similar.” Dr. Lerner is fortunate enough to be self-funded, but anyone seeking research grants or government dollars to pursue alternative theories is almost guaranteed to be shut out. He concludes by noting how this myopia has affected other fields, such as research on nuclear energy, saying “it has been hobbled by the straightjacket of the Big Bang hypothesis, which has diverted hundreds or thousands of talented researchers into futile calculations of the imaginary entities, like dark matter and dark energy, that have been invented to prop up a failing theory. Open debate can clear away that failed theory and lead to the reorientation of cosmology to the study of real phenomena, advancing technology here on earth. It is time to end the censorship and to let the debate begin. Cosmology can emerge from its crisis once it is recognized that the Big Bang never happened.”
Personally, I am not holding my breath as the old saying goes: The experts will not give up their power so easily. It will be at least a decade if not more before the Big Bang is gone for good. In the meantime, they will do what they always do: Distort the opposition, spin everything in their favor, and ignore anything they can’t spin because sadly, Big Science is as corrupt as everything else these days. There is no other way to say it, much as it pains me.