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Alternative theories about the origin of the universe

  1. Apr 10, 2006 #1
    Lately the number of scientists against the big bang theory is increasing for lots of reasons espacially the growing number of hypothetical entities like dark matter, dark energy and inflation which scientists were not able to observe but only to predict by the analysis of backround radiation...An important number of researchers are now protesting against the fact that the other alternative theories like steady-state model and plasma cosmology are severely hampered by a complete lack of funding - you can check out some more details in "An Open Letter To The Scientific Community" (www.cosmologystatement.org)-
    Do you think that developing other theories about the origin of the universe should be encouraged? and why?
     
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  3. Apr 10, 2006 #2

    ZapperZ

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    I'm sorry, but this is as BAD as creationists complaining that Evolution is "hypothetical". My jaw dropped when they said that BB depends on a number of "fudge factors". I'd like to see ONE cosmological model that has ZERO fudge factors and phenomenological parameters that are put in by hand. I'd like them to use a "standard candle" that doesn't make ANY assumption of anything.

    This is the same tactic that creationists use - poke holes in a still-evolving idea, but don't bring out the fact that the alternatives have so many more holes that they leak like a sieve.

    Zz.
     
  4. Apr 10, 2006 #3

    Nereid

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    Developing 'other theories', about anything, in any branch of science, is exactly what science is all about.

    The nonsense that pervades the 'Open Letter' is, IMHO, a parody of science.

    There is some serious work being done on various alternatives to mainstream cosmology theories, but 'plasma cosmology' has got to be one of the most fool-hardy efforts, even if at least some of the folk doing the work are physics-literate.

    As to the 'complete lack of funding', well, besides the fact that almost all major cosmology research ends up with the raw (and processed) data being made available to anyone (not just professional researchers), sometimes after a proprietary period, what on Earth would any 'alternativist' want (other than a salary and a fast workstation)?

    As to research proposals, what do you suppose the criteria should be for selecting an 'alternativist' proposal for (say) Hubble time, over anyone else's proposal? Simply that they have an ill-defined, undeveloped, likely riddled with internal inconsistencies idea that they'd like to 'test' (let me guess, in some unquantified, vague way)?

    I'll let this thread stay open for a little longer, but we've had several discussions of this statement before, and (IIRC) those in favour of this idea have fallen way, way short of making a decent case that these alternativists should be given any special favours when it comes to competing for research grants, telescope time, etc.
     
  5. Apr 10, 2006 #4
    I would agree with you completely, but nonetheless what has become the standard cosmological model has a lot of 'problems' that, to this very interest amateur, seem to be getting worse not better. It would seem to me that there should be an alternative to 'istropic, homogenuos expansion'.
    aguy2
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2006
  6. Apr 11, 2006 #5

    Chronos

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    The 'open letter' is a rehansh of the same circular reasoning maverick researchers [e.g., Arp] have been flinging at the 'establishment' since . . . the 70's? Funding is scarce and only the most promising proposals receive the precious 'scope time' available. Perhaps it would be more a effective strategy to spend more time making competitive proposals than whining about being ignored.
     
  7. Apr 11, 2006 #6

    ZapperZ

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    But that's the hallmark of GOOD SCIENCE! If there aren't problems, we won't be studying it. Scientists exist because there are still mysteries of our world. If we know everything, there's no need to study these things.

    People seem to be forgetting that cosmology, more than anything else, is a research-front area of science. Things are SUPPOSED to continue to evolve and be discovered. It is not a done deal. However, the issue here is, with ALL the prevailing evidence, which model is the most successful and most convincing? If you think it is easy to make a bunch of scientist agree on something, you haven't been to a science conference.

    A lot of questions on dark matter and maybe even dark energy will be addressed not just in the heavens, but in new particle colliders such as LHC. You simply cannot say these things are problems for the BB model until the nature of these entities are fully known.

    Zz.
     
  8. Apr 11, 2006 #7

    EL

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    I can find three Swedes on the list:
    One engineer, one "anti-SR"-crackpot, and one professor in linguistics!:wink:
     
  9. Apr 12, 2006 #8

    Chronos

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    EL, I think you have good and usually rational ideas: but I bet my job every day on being a good engineer, as does Zz. He is one of the most solid posters here; and I share his anti-crackpot sentiments. The "professor in linguistics" remark confuses me. Not up to the usual quality of your posts.
     
  10. Apr 12, 2006 #9

    EL

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    I didn't mean to smear engineers in any way. I found three Swedes on the list and simply stated what they were doing. The funny parts were the "crackpot" (he's a quite famous one) and the professor in linguistics.
    I don't get what confuses you about the "professor in linguistics" remark? I checked his name up, and found that this was his profession.
     
  11. Apr 14, 2006 #10
    Does anyone know if questions are being asked about a possible source of the conserved angular momentum in the universe?
    aguy2
     
  12. Apr 15, 2006 #11

    Garth

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    Yes - it is called Mach's Principle. (Newton's rotating bucket gedankenexperiment)

    Garth
     
  13. Apr 15, 2006 #12
    Do you know any links to theories based on four-dimensional universe? I mean four SPATIAL dimensions.
     
  14. Apr 15, 2006 #13

    Garth

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  15. Apr 18, 2006 #14
    Most new concepts begin as an alternative theory, the ones that stand the test usually build on the work of those who have gone before. Our understanding may be incomplete but what we do know is experimentally provable. Any new idea that starts off by saying our current ideas are all wrong will not stand up to experimental test. When the new one comes along it will build on what we know.
     
  16. Apr 19, 2006 #15

    Garth

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    You may find this amusing: C.S.I

    Garth
     
  17. Apr 20, 2006 #16

    Chronos

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    Hi Tze! Welcome to PF. I share your sentiments. The best way to refute mainstream science is to turn it on it's head. Take a great prediction and prove it flat out wrong. If I were a rogue scientist, that is how I would go about it. I think I my chances of getting a grant would be far superior than the 'mainstream is wrong' approach. Isn't that pretty much what Galileo did?
     
  18. Apr 27, 2006 #17
    The establishment have always been notoriously slow to accept new theories, even when they provide answers to previously unsolvable puzzles. Poor Galileo was forced to recant his heresy and admit that the Earth did not revolve around the Sun. The French Academy of Science prudently decreed in the 1700s that meteors were bunkum, not worthy of study or further discussion. “Rocks do not fall from the sky!” They changed their minds in 1803, following a meteor storm, which showered a village with meteorites.

    This does not mean we should assume everything is wrong just because it doesn't fit in with our pet theories, I think this is more about who is getting grants than whether or not a particular concept is right or wrong. I have been working on a theory but I didn't look for a grant I kept working and did my research in my spare time. If you can't get the funding - get a job, you might be surprised how much it could help you to get the data you need.
     
  19. Apr 27, 2006 #18

    ZapperZ

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    I, on the other hand, LIKE the fact that new theories are not accepted on the whim of popularity. This is a strenth, not a weakness. How would you like it if physics principles changes as often as diet fads?

    And note that there IS a difference between an accepted theory versus an accepted experimental evidence. The latter can be VERY quick once it is independently verified. Example: high-Tc superconductors.

    So no, physicists can act VERY quickly when it is warranted. The issue isn't speed. The issue is how CONVINCING something is. A reproducible experiment done by an independent group, to me, is very convincing. On the other and, a "theory" simply cannot JUST predict one thing to be accepted. This is not a good sign for a theory, especially if it can only agree with what has already been described by an existing theory. A new theory must also go BEYOND what an existing theory can describe, AND also make other new predictions that must then be verified empirically. Now think of how long of a process that would involve? The BCS theory, one of THE most successful theory of all time, was given birth in 1957, and it is only in 1972 that B,C, and S received their Nobel Prizes for it. It is a long, arduous process to verify ALL parts of a theory until it becomes convincing enough.

    Zz.
     
  20. Apr 28, 2006 #19

    Chronos

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    Tze, perhaps your theory was riddled with flaws . . my best guess.
     
  21. Apr 28, 2006 #20

    SpaceTiger

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    Would it surprise you to learn that there are many, many such theories for each of the major unsolved problems in cosmology? How do you suppose we end up choosing between these theories (in the long run)? What do you think makes a theory more or less plausible?
     
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