Probability of BB being correct

In summary: It is a description of how the universe might operate based on the assumption that some sort of electric force is more important than gravity.
  • #1
sd01g
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Having read Eric J. Lerner's book ' The Big Bang Never Happened' I realized that the BB theory is not the only possible explanation for how the Universe originated.

I was wondering if anyone else in this forum had read Lerner's book and what you thought of it.

Also, what is the consensus on the BB theory. Is the new information from the new X- ray and gamma ray satellites offering more support or less support for the BB. What is the probability the BB theory is not correct? Do you think it will ever be considered the BB Law.
 
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  • #2
The Big Bang Theory is not a theory about the origin of the universe, despite populat opinion.

The Big Bang Theory asserts that long, long ago, the visible universe was packed into a much smaller volume (and thus was very hot) and subsequently underwent rapid expansion. It does not make any guesses about what happened before this.
 
  • #3
Hurkyl said:
The Big Bang Theory asserts that long, long ago, the visible universe was packed into a much smaller volume (and thus was very hot) and subsequently underwent rapid expansion. It does not make any guesses about what happened before this.

Lerner hypothesizes the Universe did not undergo any rapid or inflationary expansion and supports his argument with plasma cosmology which makes more sense than many of the BB suppositions.

Do feel there is any substance to Lerner's hypothesis or is the BB theory too strong a theory to reasonably counter with an alternative theory.
 
  • #4
I'm sure someone more knowledgeable can tell you better than I can, but I'll tell you what I know:

Observational evidence is consistent with BBT... including verification of some of the BBT's predictions.

Theoretical physics (Loop Quantum Cosmology, at least) suggests that Big Bang + inflation is a natural way for things to evolve... it just popped out of the theory. Incidentally, LQC actually suggests the possibility of a "big bounce" -- the universe collapsed and then bounced back with a big bang.
 
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  • #5
sd01g; how much reading have you actually done on the subject other than Lerner's book? The reason I ask is sometimes it is easy to be persuaded by an argument that only shows half of a story.

Sure there are many different theories on the origins of the Universe and not everyone is sold on the BBT, that is why research is still being conducted in this area!

Maybe you need to put down some of the main concepts of the book so we can comment on it, without having to read it ourselves.
 
  • #6
sd01g said:
...plasma cosmology...
That's a big red-flag. Is that an "electric cosmos" theory? Where gravity is secondary to electric/magnetic forces on the galactic scale? Its a stretch to call such ideas "theories".
 
  • #7
There are errors in Lerner's book. Edward L. Wright writes about this.

I think the BBT is well established thanks to:

1. The high CMB isotropy to better than one part in 100,000. They measure the angular power spectra of the sky using spherical harmonics. In fact, many scientists have tried to devise alternative explanations for the source of this radiation but none have succeeded.

2. The abundances of light elements. There does exist a universal abundance ratio of helium to hydrogen consistent with current expansion rate and the cosmic background temperature. Also there are no elements heavier than lithium which have a universal abundance ratio. The WMAP satellite should be able to directly measure the ordinary matter density and compare the observed value to the predictions of Big Bang nucleosynthesis.

3. The universe is accelerating.

If the BBT is not correct than we should see a theory which will contradict general relativity and so far no one has been able to devise such a theory.

PS: GR has been found highly successful in a broad number of experiments:

1. verification of the deflection of light by the sun
2. the perihelion advance of Mercury
3. the gravitational redshift of light
4. the discoveries of quasars
5. cosmic fireball radiation
6. pulsars
7. X-ray sources the might contain black holes
8. the present interest in the imminent detection of gravitational waves.
 
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  • #8
russ_watters said:
That's a big red-flag. Is that an "electric cosmos" theory? Where gravity is secondary to electric/magnetic forces on the galactic scale? Its a stretch to call such ideas "theories".


why you object to calling electric cosmos theory ? theory means something not yet completelly verified. electric cosmos theory has many plausible concepts .
 
  • #9
i think he meant this definition of theory:

A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

not this one:

An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.
 
  • #10
yeah, yeah whatever ! :wink:
what is your view on electric cosmos theory ? for me thanks to reading about it strange anomalies in our solar system looks not so strange afterall.
 
  • #11
sd01g said:
What is the probability the BB theory is not correct?

There's no way to evaluate a probability like that. As for the support for the "Big Bang Theory" (in quotes because the "bang" itself is not supported at all!), I think Starship summed it up rather well.

However, the support for inflation is really quite scant (the things in starship's post are all post-inflation). The reason it's so popular is that it explains so many of our problems, while fitting nicely with the current understanding of particle physics. It has so many free parameters, however, that it has yet to make any particularly convincing predictions.
 
  • #12
stoned said:
yeah, yeah whatever ! :wink:
what is your view on electric cosmos theory ? for me thanks to reading about it strange anomalies in our solar system looks not so strange afterall.

The idea could be perfect but not enough firmly established experimentally. In fact many have tried to suggest alternative explanations to the 'force' of gravity such as the work function and other stuff. I don't know how reliable this is though.
 
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  • #13
The question "what is the probability that BB theory is not correct?" verges on being nonsense, in that, of course, it either is or is not correct. (Unless you talk to those at the fringe of the many world QM theory).

What you mean to say, of course, is "what is the probability, that scientists will cease to regard BB theory as correct (presumably since you don't state otherwise) over all time in the long run, given what we know today?"

I think this probability is low, but not zero, and I think that any likely case which could be called a determination that BB theory is incorrect, may come down to a determination of whether another theory is a mere modification of BB theory, or a new theory that replaces it.

For example, I suspect that the likelihood that the current consensus age of the universe, which is an important part of BB theory in a broader sense, probably approaches 40% or more. On the other hand, the likelihood that scientists will believe anything other than that all matter results from nucleosynthesis of the most elementary particles, which is also a part of BB theory, is vanishingly low, well under 2%. The likelihood that current inflation theory will be replaced, or that the eras of the universe described by big bang theory will be substantially changed, probably is in the 20% range.

The likelihood that a BB type approach will be replaced by a quasi-steady state model, I would put in the low single digits. But, the likelihood that the consensus will come to be that the big bang was one of many big bangs is a greater "super-universe" beyond the observable universe, based on theoretical considerations that show that the BB would not be a singularity or explain a relationship between the BB and black holes, probably approaches 1 in 3, if not a greater probability.

Is this based on anything more than informed intuition? No. But, FWIW, you have my guesses. Do I win anything if I'm right?
 
  • #14
stoned said:
why you object to calling electric cosmos theory ? theory means something not yet completelly verified. electric cosmos theory has many plausible concepts .
I object to calling it a theory because calling it a theory implies real research has been done and real evidence exists for it. EC is better characterized as "non-scientific idle speculation". (matt.o's explanation works equally well)

Anyway, for the OP, ohwilleke's explanation is good - its more complicated than just saying it will or will not be supplanted. It has many parts - some are likely to change and some are not.
 
  • #15
Maybe he's right. Current cosmologies rest almost entirely on Einstein's theory of gravity as the warping of space-time. Many do not agree with this including Mark McCutcheon.
 
  • #16
It's not enough to disagree or wave hands. You have to construct an alternate theory and calculate results that if observed, will falsify GR. Some of our posters, such as Garth, have theories that do this. Others are just blowing smoke.
 
  • #17
Any successor to BBT will, among other things, need to explain:
1] The CMBR, and why it has a perfect black body spectrum
2] Primordial elememental abundance
3] Expansion of the universe
4] Large scale structure
I've not yet seen such a candidate.
 
  • #18
Indeed, many "candidates" live in the loopholes. They attempt to explain a single flaw in an existing theory without reproducing the things that existing theories do explain well.

Dark matter hasn't been found? Scrap GR altogether!
 
  • #19
Scrapping GR all together is one thing. Tweaking it at scales and in situations where there is no experimental verification for it, is another.
 
  • #20
Starship said:
Current cosmologies rest almost entirely on Einstein's theory of gravity as the warping of space-time. Many do not agree with this including Mark McCutcheon.

To rephrase:

"Current cosmologies rest almost entirely on established physics. Many do not agree with this, including some guy who is not a physicist."

Same content; more illuminating.
 
  • #21
In Brian Greene's book 'The Fabric of the Cosmos' it states: A Higgs field perched above its zero energy value can provided an outward blast driving space to swell. Guth provided the big bang with a bang. (p. 285)

Does anyone really believe this? Is there the slightest empirical evidence that a Higgs field ever existed or could exist that could have enough power to create the entire universe?

It is not possible to explain the the INFLATION of the T zero + universe empirically. Adding space faster than the speed of light, super Higgs fields, negative gravity are not scientific concepts and can never be observed. Using scientific terminology do not make a concept scientific.

Eric Lerner is wrong, Brian Green is wrong. We need a New Theory. Anyone have any new Ideas?
 
  • #22
I think that probably most quantum physicists believe that the Higgs field exists and that a Higgs particle will be developed, indeed it is the one significant prediction of the "standard model" of quantum physics which remains untested and a lot of people think that LHC or other experiments in the near future will reveal a Higgs particle.

Now, I suspect far fewer people believe that a Higgs field "provided the big bang with a bang" or some such, and that most cosmologists pretty much take the Big Bang as a given without focusing on the angels on pinheads question of "what was before the Big Bang?"
 
  • #23
First we need the solve the http://home.flash.net/~csmith0/theryall.htm equations (the most promising theory) and in case the final result will not agree with future experiments (in the next 10-20 years) then the standard theory is wrong.

I believe there will never be a final theory in this century becasue we still don't have the math and technology to solve it.
 
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  • #24
Hmm, the universe, per current best estimates, is ~10^10 years old.

The BBT, in any guise you like, is ~50 years old.

Dark Energy, which per the best observational results to date, comprises most of the universe, is a concept approx 10 years old.

Ergo, Homo sap.'s view of the nature of the universe is evolving at a rate ~10^9 times faster than the universe itself (OK, OK, maybe only 10^8 times faster!)
 
  • #25
Lerner, Electric Cosmos, Mark McCutcheon, ... that's quite a few different pseudo-scientific views, in a thread of only ~20 posts! Is it a record?
 
  • #26
trying for record

Hey, before they padlock this thread, let's mention Michio Kaku's book 'Parallel Worlds' which on p.89 (using Guth's idea of INFLATION) states:

But inflation suddenly expanded this tiny patch of uniform matter by a factor of 10 to the 50th power (not a misprint), much faster than the speed of light, so the visible universe today is remarkably uniform.

There is no doubt this is the most extraordinary piece of imaginary evidence ever postulated to make a supposedly scientific theory fit observed data. Unless someone can do better than this, the BBT's chance of being true are nearly ZERO.
 
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  • #27
sd01g said:
Hey, before they padlock this thread, let's mention Michio Kaku's book 'Parallel Worlds' which on p.89 (using Guth's idea of INFLATION) states:

But inflation suddenly expanded this tiny patch of uniform matter by a factor of 10 to the 50th power (not a misprint), much faster than the speed of light, so the visible universe today is remarkably uniform.

There is no doubt this is the most extraordinary piece of imaginary evidence ever postulated to make a supposedly scientific theory fit observed data. Unless someone can do better than this, the BBT's chance of being true are nearly ZERO.

Not so fast. There are objects today which are receding from us at much faster than the speed of light - and always have been. In fact, the radius of our 13.7 billion year old universe is NOT 13.7 billion LY as you might exoect. It is closer to 78 billion LY. This evidence is derived by observation of high red shifts in very ancient galaxies - looking back 13 billion years!
 
  • #28
How big a radius?

DrChinese said:
Not so fast. There are objects today which are receding from us at much faster than the speed of light - and always have been. In fact, the radius of our 13.7 billion year old universe is NOT 13.7 billion LY as you might exoect. It is closer to 78 billion LY. This evidence is derived by observation of high red shifts in very ancient galaxies - looking back 13 billion years!


As a science advisor, I am sure you know that the only things that go faster than the speed of light are IMAGINARY particles that reside inside the human mind. Since the Universe is about 13.7 billion years old, its real radius would be far less than 13.7 billion light years since real quarks travel far slower than the speed of light. Are you sure the universe even has a radius? IF it does, then it is less than 13.7 billion LY.

The problem with the BB theory is the Observed Universe is too large for all the slow quarks to get to all the places where we observe them in only 13.7 billion years. An even bigger problem is that there is NO real way for this to happen.

Since we know that BB theory must be true-it just feels right-it is OK to make up IMAGINARY constructs that SEEM true to adjust the theory to match observed data. INFLATION that can make the Universe as large as anyone now observes or can ever observe no matter how large, is the perfect solution. Unfortunately it is not empirical--But who cares?
 
  • #29
I am sure you know that the only things that go faster than the speed of light are IMAGINARY particles that reside inside the human mind. Since the Universe is about 13.7 billion years old, its real radius would be far less than 13.7 billion light years
Actually, Dr Chinese's statement is pretty spot on, wrt modern cosmology.

What you have said is one of the most common misunderstandings - the recent Scientific American article (by Lineweaver?) addressed this (and several others).

You might like to spend some time reading Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial, and playing with the cosmology calculator he has there. Here is one of Lineweaver's papers on these confusions.
 
  • #30
Nereid said:
.

What you have said is one of the most common misunderstandings - the recent Scientific American article (by Lineweaver?) addressed this (and several others).

You might like to spend some time reading Ned Wright's cosmology tutorial, and playing with the cosmology calculator he has there. Here is one of Lineweaver's papers on these confusions.

Wow! Who would have thought it would be so easy to exceed the speed of light. All you have to do is define the Hubble sphere to be the distance beyond which recession velocity exceeds the speed of light and then make sure it is in an inertial frame that has no observer, then SR is toast.

The guys on Star Trek were right, warp factor 9 not a problem anymore.
 
  • #31
The point you are missing sd01g is the difference between an object's speed within space-time and the cosmological velocity of recession due to the expansion of space itself, which carries an embedded object along with it, within space-time.

The caveat is, though, that we have to define what we actually mean by that cosmological recession; i.e. how do we measure it?
Ans. The measurement we are talking about is that of cosmological (Hubble) red shift, but that itself then has to be interpreted according to a convention of definition of length and time over cosmological distances.

If particle (rest) masses are constant then rulers are 'fixed' and clocks are 'regular' and cosmological red shift is interpreted as a Doppler effect of velocity of recession. But if particle rest masses are not constant then the red shift is open to other interpretation as in Fred Hoyle's paper "On the Origin of the microwave background" Ap.J. 196 pg661-670 1975.

If this seems maverick in the extreme then note this comment about Fred Hoyle, one of my heroes:
What is extraordinary about Fred Hoyle's science is that his impact derives equally from instances when he was right and others when he was wrong! Generally within academia, an erroneous paper is quietly forgotten: it receives the silent treatment. Hoyle's contribution to the advancement of science derived much of its impetus from the way in which his colleagues recoiled at his notions. His opponents deployed enormous resources to wrong-foot him. In the twentieth century, no other figure in astronomy had to withstand for such a long period the criticisms of both the invisible college of astronomers worldwide and the parochial college of Cambridge practitioners. Hoyle’s scientific life was truly unparalleled, and unforgettable.
From the Prologue of Simon Mitton's book “Fred Hoyle - A life in science.”
 
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  • #32
Garth said:
The point you are missing sd01g is the difference between an object's speed within space-time and the cosmological velocity of recession due to the expansion of space itself, which carries an embedded object along with it, within space-time.

.”

THE EXPANSION OF SPACE ITSELF--a powerful concept, except I do not know anyone who has a clue what it means. No one can observe space, only the movement of real things composed of matter/energy that seem to move in what is commonly referred to as space.

Assuming the BB actually happened, it would need space for any movement to take place. Space with less than three reference points (which existed prior to the BB) should be viewed as 'potential space' as opposed to 'volume space' which has reference points that can be used to define a given volume. The BB would then merely convert 'potential' space to 'volume' space as reference points were created. This type of space can not be crated, expanded or warped. As 'things' move about in this type of space, volumes can increase as potential space decreases but total space remains the same.

Attempts to use spacetime to explain the THE EXPANSION OF SPACE ITSELF does not help much. Combining space-which is only a concept that can not be observed-with time-which in physics is that which is measured and observed using a functioning clock, one ends up with a set of math equations which really do not constitute observed , empirical reality.

Utilizing the concept of 'fabric of the cosmos' does not help much either because no one really knows what it is.

Attempting to negate aspects of SR by using red/blue shift in EM waves is very poor methodology. What we empirically verify should not be preempted by what we speculate, no matter how elegant the math.
 
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  • #33
Read my caveat!
The standard model of gravitation and cosmology is based on the understanding and insight of GR. That that theory has been well tested is beyond dispute, other interpretations of the same measurements of matter/photons within space-time have to take those experimental results into consideration and be equally as concordant.

Garth
 
  • #34
Garth said:
Read my caveat!
The standard model of gravitation and cosmology is based on the understanding and insight of GR. Garth

In Kip Thornes's book 'Black Holes and Time Warp' p.514 it states:

'Why the quantum laws? Because they are the Ultimate Rulers of our Universe. For example, the laws of quantum gravity have ultimate control over gravitation and the structure of space and time. Einstein's classical, general relativistic laws of gravity are mere approximations to quantum gravity laws-approximations with excellent accuracy when one is far from all singularities and looks at spacetime on scales far larger than 10 to the -35 power centimeter, but approximations nevertheless (Chapter 13).'

GR which does not even recognize gravity as a force (Michio Kaku-'Parallel worlds' p.389) is becoming obsolete. When we finally understand the the Universe, it will not be ' because of GR' but in spite of it.
 
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  • #35
GR which does not even recognize gravity as a force (Michio Kaku-'Parallel worlds' p.389) is becoming obsolete. When we finally understand the the Universe, it will not be ' because of GR' but in spite of it.
That 'quantum laws' and GR are mutually inconsistent has been known for decades; that physicists have been working to 'unify' them for decades is also not a secret.

Do you have some special insight (or reason) for thinking that the unificiation will involve abandoning the approach which underlies GR?
 

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