Intrinsic red shift

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I came across this Wikipedia article ,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_redshift, that describes the idea of intrinsic red shift but the references seem old. What is the status of this idea today?
 

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  • #2
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Its regarded as a fringe (quack) idea in the field. Even at that, it has very little following and interest... It isn't really a coherent theory of anything, just kind of a general statement of disagreement.
 
  • #3
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What is the status of this idea today?
Dead outside of a fringe that most people consider crackpot.

Much more popular in the 1970's when we had no clue what was causing quasars, but since we have a good model for how quasars work, handwaving an intrinsic red shift isn't very popular.
 
  • #4
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I came across this Wikipedia article ,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_redshift, that describes the idea of intrinsic red shift but the references seem old. What is the status of this idea today?
There is a type of spectral perfectly accepted in Optics, called the Wolf shift that has been hypothesized as a possible redshift magnifying factor for quasars, implying they are actually not as far as their redshift indicates, and that doesn't put in question the general cosmological redshift of the rest of galaxies. It is just a hypothesis without many followers in the mainstream, but not crackpot or anything like that. You can find references to a couple of papers in the WP page on the Wolf effect.
 
  • #5
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It is just a hypothesis without many followers in the mainstream, but not crackpot or anything like that.
Among the cosmologists and quasar researchers that I know, it is considered crackpot. (Note here that the Wolfe effect is very different from the Sacks-Wolfe effect).

You can find references to a couple of papers in the WP page on the Wolf effect.
Yes, and if you show one of those papers to most cosmologists or quasar researchers, you will get a scathing response. This poses a problem since unlike things like modified newtonian dynamics or the timescape model, which is "non-mainstream but respectable", the reaction of a quasar researcher to something suggesting that the Wolf effect creates a large redshift is likely to be "this paper is so nutty and the mistakes are so basic, that it's sort of pointless to refute it."
 
  • #6
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Among the cosmologists and quasar researchers that I know, it is considered crackpot. (Note here that the Wolfe effect is very different from the Sacks-Wolfe effect).



Yes, and if you show one of those papers to most cosmologists or quasar researchers, you will get a scathing response. This poses a problem since unlike things like modified newtonian dynamics or the timescape model, which is "non-mainstream but respectable", the reaction of a quasar researcher to something suggesting that the Wolf effect creates a large redshift is likely to be "this paper is so nutty and the mistakes are so basic, that it's sort of pointless to refute it."
Have you read those papers? Are you a quasar researcher?
If any of these has negative answer, how are you so sure what they would say about them?
Aren't you a little biased by the standard model when deciding what is crackpot about this papers, given the fact that quasars are objects not fully understood by cosmologists?(this is actually an understatement according to the astrophysicists in my university)

It is obvious that words like crackpot are kind of a pet word for anything that doesn't meet the mainstream doctrine, that is fine with me.
But when used to avoid even discussing any new proposal I tend to believe it is a too easy way out, and certainly has nothing to do with science.
 
  • #7
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Have you read those papers?
Yes I have.

Are you a quasar researcher?
No (type II supernova), but I know quasar researchers.

If any of these has negative answer, how are you so sure what they would say about them?
Because I've taken from quasar researchers, and the papers that I've seen make some elementary mistakes that even I can spot. The two big ones are

1) quasars are not black boxes and we can resolve them pretty well. the problem with any mechanism that requires intrinsic redshift is that you can look at the quasar to see if the conditions that the papers propose are present, and they aren't

2) a lot of those papers claim that something is happening based on statistical arguments with quasar brightness, but these are problematic because of selection effects and quasar evolution


Aren't you a little biased by the standard model when deciding what is crackpot about this papers, given the fact that quasars are objects not fully understood by cosmologists?(this is actually an understatement according to the astrophysicists in my university)
The people at my university seem to think that quasars are very well understood. We understand more about quasars than we do about say exoplanets or gamma ray bursters.

It is obvious that words like crackpot are kind of a pet word for anything that doesn't meet the mainstream doctrine, that is fine with me.
Except that it's not. If you talk about modified gravity theories, exotic dark matter, non-standard nucleosynthesis, and weird inflation models, all of that is non-standard, but none of that is crackpot.

The difference between non-standard and crackpot is the difference between saying that the Loch Ness monster exists, and saying that the Loch Ness monster exists and is in my bathtub right now.

If you argue that the Loch Ness monster exists somewhere in world, then we can argue that, that I can accept that maybe you might have a point even if you are wrong. If you argue that the Loch Ness monster is in my bathtub right now, and I look at my bathtub and say "no it isn't" and you keep insisting that it is, then there is no real grounds for debate.

There's a ton of data from quasars and very good models for how quasars work so arguing that there is some intrinsic redshift at z=1.0 levels requires you are argue that there is a Loch Ness monster in my bathtub.

But when used to avoid even discussing any new proposal I tend to believe it is a too easy way out, and certainly has nothing to do with science.
It's not *any* new proposal. It's *this* particular proposal. Also, if someone argues that the Wolfe effect has *some* effect on quasar redshift (say at the z=0.1 or z=0.01 level), that would be something interesting to discuss.

The problem is that if you start arguing that Wolfe effect is important at the z=0.5 level. At that point it's like arguing that there is an elephant in my bathtub. It's really hard to argue the point.

Also, there are enough weird things in the universe to explore, that you have to pick and choose what weird idea you what to spend your time look at. If you want to search for the Loch Ness monster in some uncharted African lake, that might be a waste of time, but hey, you might win big if it is there. However, if someone tells me that the Loch Ness monster is in my bathtub, I'm not going to spend too much time with that.

One other thing is that you'll find that the "new proposals" aren't so new. The idea that quasar redshifts aren't due to Hubble expansion is not a new idea. People thought of it from the moment the quasars were discovered, and it was a very hot topic in the 1960's. If you are the first explorer in that part of world, and you wonder if there is a sea monster in it, you aren't going to be thought of as crazy. However, once people start building roads and bridges on the lake, and it becomes a suburban duck pond, and you *still* insist that there is a sea monster in it, then people will start looking at you weird.
 
  • #8
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Also for a classic example of "how to present a crazy idea" you need to read the paper that presented evidence for the accelerating universe at

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1998AJ....116.1009R

It's a cool paper, because when I first heard about it my reaction, was "this is obviously and they must of gotten their numbers wrong because they didn't think of ..... oh, they thought of that.... well what about .... oh, they thought of that too .. but maybe they forgot about.... oh... that's there too... and they you read the paper and they come up with about three more things that could sink their findings that you didn't think of." It's also not a coincidence because before the published, they likely had people try to kick the idea to pieces.

Also, it's a good example of data presentation, because the tone of the paper is "we *know* that you think we are nuts, so we are going to tell you in excrutiating detail what we did with the data and all of the assumptions we made."

At that point the paper gets *interesting* because if it turns out that it *isn't* the accelerating universe, then it's something non-obvious. Maybe the mysterious blob in the lake isn't the Loch Ness monster, but it's not a rock or a stick, so you've demonstrated that it's at least interesting.

By contrast, none of the papers that I've seen that mention the Wolfe effect have large redshifts are that interesting, because all of them seem to go to pieces the moment you come up with objection one, and at least given a random sample of them that I saw on ADS, they seemed very out of touch with standard quasar models (i.e. they seemed to think that quasars were ultra-mysterious objects when they aren't). If you have a paper that takes a standard accreting black hole and then shows that there is a Wolfe effect at even the z=0.1 level, that would be somewhat interesting, but I didn't find any of those papers on ADS (although I didn't look too hard).
 
  • #9
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2) a lot of those papers claim that something is happening based on statistical arguments with quasar brightness, but these are problematic because of selection effects and quasar evolution
This particular approach and problems is shared by 90% of what is published in cosmology and astrophysics, more so in the area of galactic evolution and AGN's. So I guess for you most of what is published in journals is crackpot. Well, you might be right.

1) quasars are not black boxes and we can resolve them pretty well. the problem with any mechanism that requires intrinsic redshift is that you can look at the quasar to see if the conditions that the papers propose are present, and they aren't

The people at my university seem to think that quasars are very well understood. We understand more about quasars than we do about say exoplanets or gamma ray bursters.
I difer, just because GRB's are really weird things in comparison doesn't make quasars "very well understood", and people who think that might be deceiving themselves.

Except that it's not. If you talk about modified gravity theories, exotic dark matter, non-standard nucleosynthesis, and weird inflation models, all of that is non-standard, but none of that is crackpot.
I see, you let the standard view decide for you what kind of stupidity is crackpot or not, no matter how crazy something sounds. That is a way to see these things, conformist way, but not necessarily the best way.


It's not *any* new proposal. It's *this* particular proposal. Also, if someone argues that the Wolfe effect has *some* effect on quasar redshift (say at the z=0.1 or z=0.01 level), that would be something interesting to discuss.
Good thing you admit that at least.



One other thing is that you'll find that the "new proposals" aren't so new. The idea that quasar redshifts aren't due to Hubble expansion is not a new idea.
I had the impession what those papers propose is not that the quasar redshift is not due to Hubble law in their main proportion but that there might be some contribution from the Wolf effect that would increase in some proportion the redshift they would already have due to Hubble redshift-distance law. I don't see this possibility in itself as so out of touch with what is known about quasars, it depends on the amount of the effect as you pointed out.
 
  • #10
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This particular approach and problems is shared by 90% of what is published in cosmology and astrophysics, more so in the area of galactic evolution and AGN's.
It's not, in the papers that I've seen. People are extremely careful with cosmological statistical arguments, because there it's quite easy to get results that make no sense. Any time you come up with a cosmological statistical argument you have to spend a lot of effort justifying said argument.

Also, it helps a lot if you state your assumptions. If you explicitly say "we are assuming no galactic evolution" that's fine.

So I guess for you most of what is published in journals is crackpot.
You aren't a crackpot if you know what you are writing is weird and maybe silly. A lot of stuff that gets written in journals is of the form "let's play with this silly idea and see where it leads us."

Also, crackpot changes over time. I wager that 80% of what is published now *will* be seen as crackpot if someone trying to publish in 2050, just like a lot of non-sense that gets published today, would not have been seen as non-sense in 1965.

I difer, just because GRB's are really weird things in comparison doesn't make quasars "very well understood", and people who think that might be deceiving themselves.
It's not "weirdness" but data. The problem with GRB is that they disappear after a few seconds, so it's hard to get data. For quasars, those stick around, so we have a ton of data on them, and we have a basic model that fits the data. There are some parts that we don't understand, but the parts that we don't understand about quasars (i.e. exactly how quasar magnetic fields work) are more or less the same as the parts that we we don't understand about other things (we aren't totally sure how the solar magnetic field works).

The standard model of quasars is that they are ultra massive black holes that are sucking in gas in galactic nuclei. This explains a great many things, like why quasars start appearing at z=6-8 (black hole forms) and why they disappear at z=0.5 (gas gets eaten up). You get good energy results.

I see, you let the standard view decide for you what kind of stupidity is crackpot or not, no matter how crazy something sounds.
It works the other way. I decide what it crackpot and what I decide becomes part of the standard view. Also I have reasons for deciding what is crackpot, and we can debate those reasons. For quasars, it's because we have enough data on the details of how quasars work so that it's hard to assume "loch ness monster."

Also I've been known to change my mind on what is crackpot. I can think of several examples of things that I thought were semi-crackpot at one point, that I don't now. If you want to convince me that something isn't crackpot, it helps a lot to take my objections seriously rather than start with the "you are just closed minded" spiel.

If you have a paper that says "I know you think this is crazy and you are going to say that it won't work because of X, Y, and Z, but counter-X, counter-Y, counter-Z, that's fine." But if the conversation goes "I have this idea. But what about X? You are closed minded!!!" that doesn't go well.

I had the impession what those papers propose is not that the quasar redshift is not due to Hubble law in their main proportion but that there might be some contribution from the Wolf effect that would increase in some proportion the redshift they would already have due to Hubble redshift-distance law.
The problem is that data they present is far, far too noisy to justify that. Now if you had a paper that said, given an accretion disk and a black hole, here is an effect that could cause spurtious redshifts. *That* would be interesting, and it would be interesting because it's likely that we will see it in other astrophysical contexts.

I don't see this possibility in itself as so out of touch with what is known about quasars, it depends on the amount of the effect as you pointed out.
The other thing is that things often get toned down for papers. For example, there are a lot of people with very strange ideas, but they get their papers published because they are able to tone things down so that the paper doesn't make huge claims, even though they do.

If someone believes something crackpot (i.e. Wolfe effect causes z=1 changes), but tones it down for a paper (Wolfe effect might cause some change), then the paper will pass peer review. One good example is the idea of MECO (eternally collapsing objects). The people that argue this are crackpots that don't understand general relativity, but they manage to get published by removing their extreme claims from the papers they submit.

Where we go next in this discussion is up to you. I'm not really that interested in a "psychological discussion" but I've listed the issues that I have with the Wolfe effect papers that I've read. I read a few, and based on those papers, I didn't think it was worth my effort to read any more.

If you can find papers that work around my objections, then COOL. I'm interested in learning something new. Specifically I'm looking for a paper that either

1) doesn't ignore the fact that we have a good model for how quasars work. If you can find a paper that shows that a Wolfe effect is possible within the context of the standard quasar model, I'd be interested..... or

2) has a much stronger justification for cosmological statistics.
 

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