BIG BANG THEORY UNDER FIRE
by William C. Mitchel
- Page 1
( As Published in Physics Essays Volume 10, Number 2, June
The very old big bang problems (of the singularity, smoothness, horizon, and flatness) and
the failed solutions of inflation theory; newer BB problems relating to missing mass (as
required for a flat inflationary universe), the age of the universe, radiation from the
"decoupling" ("smearing" of black body spectrum), a contrived BB
chronology, the abundances of light elements, and red shift anomalies; and problems, newer
yet, regarding inconsistencies of red shift interpretation, curved space, inflation
theory, the decelerating expansion of a BB universe, and some additional logical
inconsistencies of BB theory are presented.
Key words: singularity, smooth universe, flat
universe, average density, age, black body radiation, neutrinos, chronology, light
elements, red shift, curved space, quasars, inflation, decelerating expansion
In one of its several variations the
big bang cosmological theory is almost universally accepted as the most reasonable theory
for the origin and evolution of the universe. In fact, it is so well accepted that
virtually every media article, story or program that touches on the subjects of astronomy
or cosmology presents the big bang (BB) as a virtual proven fact. As a result, the great
majority of the literate populace of the world, including most of the scientists of the
world, accepts big bang theory (BBT) as scientific fact.
Education establishments involved in the fields of astronomy, astrophysics, theoretical
physics and cosmology are dominated by those who have accepted BB as the theory to be
pursued. Scientists who seriously question the BB are generally considered disruptive,
ridiculed and derogatorily referred to as big bang bashers.
As a result of that attitude alternate cosmological possibilities are left uninvestigated.
Untold man-hours and vast sums of money are spent in pursuit of data in support of the
prevailing theory. Such endeavors are not in keeping with the ideals of impartial
scientific investigation. It is all but forgotten that the BB is not fact, but an unproven
long has been an un-indoctrinated minority of scientists, both amateur and professional,
who continue to discover and present observational evidence and logic that provides reason
to doubt the accepted paradigm. Some of better known and most effective of the scientists
in this struggle are Halton Arp of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Germany,
Anthony Peratt of the Los Alamos National Laboratories, and Jayant Narlikar of the Centre
for Astronomy and Astrophysics in India. Other well known astronomers/cosmologists who
have long fought for the proper consideration of alternate cosmologies include Geoffrey
and Margaret Burbidge, Fred Hoyle, Herman Bondi, Thomas Gold and Eric Lerner.
Due to the efforts of those and other fighters for evenhanded cosmological investigation
and, despite the powerful influence of mainstream BB cosmologists, evidence against the BB
has been building to the point where the world may soon start to doubt it. Some of that
evidence is briefly reviewed in this paper.
1. IS A SINGULARITY ACCEPTABLE?
The oldest and perhaps best known problem of BBT is that of the singularity. At the first
instant of the BB universe, in which its density and temperature were infinitely high, is
what is known to mathematicians as a singularity. That situation is considered to be a
breakdown of theory. That is, it cannot be assumed that the laws of physics as we know
them can apply to that event, thus presenting serious questions about it.
In addition, the postulated creation of the entire mass and energy of the universe out of
nothing in the first instant of time, seems to represent an extreme violation of the law
of conservation of mass/energy.
According to prevailing theory, before that instant, space and time did not exist.
Although to some, who confuse their religious ideas with science, this is seen as a
reasonable interpretation of their religious beliefs, to others the beginning of space and
time might represent a significant problem.
If there were a BB, it would seem that events during the first instant of time would
involve the instantaneous acceleration of the enormous number of particles (the entire
mass) of the universe to relativistic velocity; and some variations of BBT postulate
velocities well above the speed of light.(1) Because the acceleration of even a minute
particle to the speed of light requires an infinite amount of energy, the BB might have
required on the order of an infinity times and infinity of ergs; not to mention the
additional energy that would be required to overcome the gravitational attraction of the
entire mass of the universe.
It has been suggested that this singularity problem can be solved by postulating a
universe of zero net energy;(2) a universe wherein the positive kinetic energy, the
potential energy, and the Einsteinian equivalent energy of the mass of the universe is
equal and opposite to the negative energy of gravity. Somehow, if the universe is to
collapse in the future as some believe, all the energy that was expended in the birth and
expansion of the BB universe was only borrowed; someday to be paid back. However, that
doesn't provide an adequate explanation for the source of the energy requirement described
It should be noted that this zero net energy explanation couldn't reasonably be postulated
for other than a recollapsing universe. However, as will be discussed further on,
observational evidence has all but ruled out the possibility of the collapsing BB universe
case, thus adding to the incredibility of zero net energy; and certainly it would seem
that the positive energy of the potential, kinetic and the enormous mass equivalent energy
of the of the universe must be far greater than the negative energy of its gravity. For
any BB universe case the postulated zero net energy idea appears to be unrealistic.
Inflation theory,(3,4) which will be discussed further on, has claimed to solve the
singularity problem (and other BB problems as well) but it requires an enormous quantum
theory vacuum fluctuation(2) and, according to some, an enormous cosmic repulsive force to
provide for a BB. These are purely speculative ideas that have no known means of
2. IS THE UNIVERSE SMOOTH?
One of the older problems of BBT, that of its postulated large-scale smoothness of the
universe, appears to be the result of what was originally a simplifying assumption(5-8)
that was made to aid in the solution of Einstein's equations of general relativity on
which the BB is based. That apparently resulted in the establishment of smoothness as a
basic tenet of BBT; that is, the universe is isotropic (the same in all directions) and
homogeneous (the same everywhere). Those ideas, combined with curved space, provide the
basis for the BB concepts of space expansion (rather than simple expansion of matter in
space), for a "BB that happened everywhere", and for a centerless universe.
However, the observed irregularities of the universe, which include vast galactic
formations,(9) gigantic voids and sheets of galaxies,(10) and the "Great
Wall",(11,12) that is estimated to stretch across one half billion light years of
space, tend to deny that smoothness.
The smoothness of the distribution of the matter of the universe is said to be verified by
the smoothness of microwave background radiation (MBR) that is received from all
directions of space. That radiation is believed by adherents of BBT to have come directly
from a smooth BB. However, it would seem that both the improbability of a smooth BB
explosion (explosions experienced in our time certainly are not smooth), and presently
observed irregularities of the universe, tend to deny a BB as the direct source of MBR.
(Regarding the plasma universe explosion postulated by
Hannes Alfven, a leading advocate
of BB cosmology P. J. E. Peebles wrote, "It would be hard to imagine that the
explosion produced a spherically symmetric expanding system of galaxies...." (13) One
wonders why similar doubt is not expressed about a smooth BB.)
The enormous expansion of the early universe at speeds far in excess of that of light, in
accordance with inflation theory, is said to solve the BB smoothness problem. However,
postulating a different form of expansion doesn't change the present state of the
universe, and, as will be discussed further on, it is not clear that inflation can provide
an adequate explanation for the expansion of the universe at speeds far in excess of that
3. ORIGINAL SMOOTHNESS OR SMOOTHING?
Another old BB problem that is related to the smoothness problem is called the horizon
problem. In the event, however unlikely, that the universe should ultimately prove to be
smooth (on an extremely large scale), an additional problem would have to be faced.
Pick one up for a friend
whether the BB was chaotic or smooth, how it might have become smooth or
remained smooth is not explained. Because of the enormous initial rate of expansion of a
BB universe, faster-than-light signaling would have been necessary for gravitational (or
other) forces to produce or retain that smoothness over billions of years. However, even
the transmission of information at or above the speed of light is a violation of the
theory of relativity.
The rapid expansion of the very early BB universe in accordance with inflation theory is
thought to provide a solution to this horizon problem. As Peebles has also written,
"The recent tendency is to assume this embarrassment can be resolved by inflation or
some other adjustment of the physics of the very early universe".(13) But again, it
is not clear just how the more rapid expansion of inflation might solve this problem.
4. IS THE UNIVERSE FLAT?
An additional older problem of BBT is the flatness problem. A special theory is required
to explain a flat "Euclidian" BB universe of uncurved space that is accepted by
many mainstream cosmologists. In that universe the average density would be at a critical
level, that is, at a balance between the average density of a "closed" BB
universe (expanding at less than escape velocity) that would eventually collapse, and the
average density of an "open" BB universe (expanding at greater than escape
velocity) whose expansion would continue to increase, but at an ever decreasing rate. The
postulated expansion of this flat BB universe (just at escape velocity) would eventually
cease to increase, and thereafter remain at a fixed size.
It has been postulated that a universe of zero net energy, in addition to solving the
singularity problem, might solve this flatness problem. However, as mentioned above, that
concept is highly suspect. Additionally, the observed low average density of the universe,
probably not more than a few percent of the critical amount, appears to deny the
possibility of the flat universe case.
As in the case of the previously mentioned problems, the enormous rate of expansion of the
early BB universe as postulated by inflation theory, is said to provide a solution to the
flatness problem. However, it is not clear how an enormously fast rate of expansion might
result in an average density at the critical level; and the low observed density of the
universe represents an especially severe problem to inflation theory. That situation has
provided the incentive for a frantic search for the "missing mass" that would be
necessary to increase the average density to the expectations of inflation theory.
5. IS DENSITY TOO LOW?
Actually, the density of the universe appears to be insufficient to support any BB
universe case: closed, flat or somewhat open. That situation presents what is called the
missing mass problem.
The directly observed density of the universe is estimated at only one to two percent of
the required density for the above cases. Calculations based on observed dynamics of
galactic rotation of a small sample of galaxies indicate there may be as much as ten times
that amount of matter in their vicinities.
There is insufficient evidence to indicate that is true of the majority of galaxies, and
little evidence that the average density of intergalactic space is nearly that high.
However, even if the density of all of space were found to be as high as in the vicinity
of those sample galaxies, resulting in an average density on the order of ten percent of
the critical amount, that is still far short of the level necessary for the usual BB
If the BB universe is flat, requiring its average density to be at the critical level
(somewhat less for the open BB universe and somewhat more for the closed BB universe), as
much as 99 percent of its mass might consist of non-baryonic matter of no known
characteristics other than gravitational attraction. Investigators have made valiant
efforts, both theoretical and observational, to find that missing matter, both cold dark
matter (CDM) and hot dark matter (HDM). All sorts of exotic stuff, including photinos,
gravitinos, small black holes, magnetic monopoles, solitons, cosmic strings and sheets,
MACHOS (massive astrophysical halo objects), WIMPS (weakly interacting massive particles),
massive neutrinos (meaning neutrinos that have mass), and several others have been
proposed, but no significant observational evidence in support of those has been
[Because it has been said that the universe, in addition to photons, is flooded with
neutrinos from the BB, some theorists had suggested that electron neutrinos are more
massive than previously thought by particle physicists; possibly as much as 30 eV (rather
than less than 10 eV) which might be sufficient to solve the missing mass problem. For the
same reason, it has more recently been suggested that muon neutrinos might have a mass of
about 2500 MeV, more than 10,000 times greater than previously estimated. However,
experiments failed to support an electron neutrino of 30 eV,(14) and there is
no experimental evidence in support of a muon neutrino of 2500 MeV.]
Inflation theory, that is claimed to solve several of the major problems of conventional
BBT, postulates a flat universe.(15) For that reason the significance of the missing mass
problem has in recent years increased in the minds of those who support that theory. As
mentioned, that has provided increased incentive for the as yet unsuccessful search for
6. UNIVERSE TOO OLD?
A major problem, known as the age paradox,(16) plagues BBT: The postulated age of the BB
universe may be incompatible with observations.
Despite the insistence of some BB advocates on a lower value, recent observations of
distant galaxies have confirmed the Hubble constant to be approximately 80
km/sec/Megaparsec (about 24.5 km/sec/million light years).(13,17) Hubble time, the age 2
billion years. The age of a flat or near flat BB universe, as postulated by BB theorists
in recent years, would be two thirds of that, or about 8 billion years; somewhat more than
that for an open BB universe, and somewhat less than that for a closed BB universe. That
age is only about one half of the known age of some stars and galaxies,(18,19) presenting
an obviously impossible situation.
Conversely, a flat BB universe having an age of 15 billion years, would require a
Hubble time of 22.5 billion years and a Hubble constant of about 42.2 km/sec/Mpc; little
more than one half of the observed value.
Even if the age of the BB universe was considerably more than 8 billion years (and the
Hubble constant correspondingly smaller), there may not have been time for the formation
of observed gigantic galactic configurations. The time required for those to form (due to
gravity Ð in accordance with BBT) has been estimated to be on the order of 100 billion
The heavy elements observed in the solar system, and in other stars and galaxies, require
at least one previous stellar cycle.(20,21)The formation of those stars, their life time,
their collapse, explosion and dispersal, and the subsequent formation of our galaxy, sun
and planets might well have required a period considerably greater than 8 billion years.
Because of the high probability of more than one previous stellar cycle in this process,
an age of at least tens of billions of years may have been required.
Astronomical observations support a period of rotation of our galaxy of 1/4 billion
years.(22,23) At that rate, if the BB had occurred on the order of 10 billion years ago,
there would have been time for only 40 rotations. However, astronomical theory tells us
that the rate of rotation has increased from a much lower rate as the galaxy has
evolved,(24) providing time for considerably less than 40 rotations. As judged by the
present spiral form of the galaxy, it might be expected that an order of magnitude more
revolutions, and thus an order of magnitude more that 10 billion years, may have been
required for the formation of our galaxy. These comments apply to other spiral galaxies as
well as our own.
Possibly adding to this age problem, there have been observations of polarization of
radiation received from distant quasars indicating the presence of relatively strong
magnetic fields. Some of those quasars are reckoned by BB theorists to be observed as they
were at less than one tenth of the age of the universe,(25) far sooner than such fields
might have developed in accordance with BBT.
On the whole it would seem that the age of the universe is more likely to be at least
several tens of billions of years, rather than 10 to 15 billion years as believed by BB
advocates. As in the case of the missing mass problem, BB age problems alone appear to
provide convincing evidence against all of BBT.
It should be noted that BB theorists' estimates of the age of the universe are based on
their belief in an expanding universe. That in turn is based on the accepted Doppler
interpretation of red shift which, as we will see, may present additional difficulties.
7. SOURCE OF RADIATION?
The microwave background radiation (MBR), that is received uniformly from all directions
of space, considered by many to be the most important evidence in support of BBT, may be
inconsistent with that theory.
In addition to the previous comment that one would expect the observed gigantic galactic
formations to cause irregularities in the isotropy of MBR reception, the observed spectrum
of the MBR, corresponding to a near perfect black body temperature of 2.7 K, doesn't agree
very well with temperatures predicted by various BB theorists. Those predictions had
varied over a range of 5 to 50 K.(26) History also shows that some BB cosmologists'
"predictions" of MBR temperature have been "adjusted" after-the-fact
to agree with observed temperatures.
The prediction of 5 K (by Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman in 1948),(27) which has been
selected as a basis for agreement with the observed temperature, was made by those who had
accepted a BB scenario that included concepts that were incorrect. Those included the idea
that all of the elements of the universe were produced in the BB, which was later
determined to be erroneous.
If the temperature of the universe was at absolute zero, all matter would collapse. The
temperature of radiation from space might reasonably be expected to be some small number
of degrees above that temperature. In fact, some physicists (including Sir Arthur
Eddington in 1926 and Andrew McKeller in 1942)(28) had estimated temperatures in the range
of 2 to 3 K; closer to that of the MBR than has been estimated by BB cosmologists.
According to BB theorists, the "decoupling era", from whence MBR is said to have
originated, may have lasted at least several hundred thousand years.(29) It has occurred
to me that, if radiation comes to us directly from that period, later radiation would have
lower source temperature and less red shift, resulting in distortion,
"smearing",(24)of the postulated black body spectrum from the decoupling. Bers
may have assumed that the temperature and red shift changes of that period would cancel;
but unless the universe had linear (fixed-rate) expansion, that cancellation could not be
perfect. Because BB theorists believe, not in a fixed rate of expansion, but in a
nonlinear decelerating expansion, it would seem reasonable to suppose that a less than
perfect black body spectrum might be received from the BB decoupling than that which is
Smearing of a black body spectrum from the decoupling would also result if the shape of
the BB universe were less than perfectly spherical during that period. Although BB
advocates believe in that smoothness, it may be difficult for others to accept an
explosion of such symmetry.
If MBR from the decoupling had caused thermal equalization (thermalization) of the matter
of the space that surrounds us, as other theorists have suggested, and that matter were
quite remote, the large irregularities of galactic formations might be expected to cause
fairly large directional variations of the MBR. If the MBR is radiated from thermalized
matter relatively close to us (but perhaps outside of our galaxy), the MBR might possess
the observed isotropy. However, the possibility should not be overlooked that, as the work
of Eddington, McKeller and others indicates, the observed MBR may be the result of sources
energy other than the BB decoupling.
Some BB cosmologists have contended that thermalization of surrounding space could not
produce a spectrum so closely resembling that of black body radiation. However there is
theoretical support for the existence of particles in space (called whiskers) (30-32) that
in turn supports the possibility of thermalization. Physical evidence of these particles
has been found in meteorites that have struck the earth.(33,34)
Further doubt about the BB as a source of the MBR results from consideration of the
amplitude of MBR signal strength received here on earth. Calculations indicate that the
received energy may be orders of magnitude lower than would be expected from the enormous
energy release of the postulated BB decoupling.(24)
According to BBT, positively curved space provides the explanation for omni
reception of MBR from the decoupling. However, characteristics of the positively curved
space of a closed universe cannot be ascribed to the flat or somewhat open universe that
is accepted by the majority of BB theorists.
As presented above, the closed BB universe would seem to be ruled out by age and density
considerations. But if that had not been the case, and space were positively curved as
postulated for the closed BB universe case, neutrinos from the BB would be raining on us
as well as photons. Those have not been detected. By similar reasoning, in a BB universe
of positively curved space, rather than being "clumped" at great distances (as
they are perceived to be by the presently accepted interpretation of red shift data),
quasars would be more evenly distributed in direction, distance and speed. If that were
found to be true it might tend to deny one of the alleged proofs of BBT, that of an
Photons [that is, electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the infrared region] are believed to
originate from the BB decoupling, to be red-shifted by about 1,000, and to be received
from all directions of space as MBR. According to BBT, neutrinos are also said to
originate from the BB, but at a much earlier time. They, like the MBR, are believed to
fill the space that surrounds us. According to quantum wave theory, although they are
particles rather than EMR, they are considered to have a red shift much greater than that
of BB photons. Their energy is therefore too low to allow their detection: their frequency
below the capability of available technology. Although neutrinos from nearby sources (from
the sun and from Supernova 1987A) have been detected, the treatment of BB neutrinos as
waves is said to provide an explanation for the lack of their detection. However, the
application of wave theory to neutrinos, but not to other particles (electrons, protons,
neutrons, etc.) believed to have originated in the BB at or before the time of the
decoupling, appears to present a logical inconsistency.
It would seem that, upon consideration of the available evidence, rather than supporting
BBT, the presence of MBR might actually be counted against it. It seems more reasonable to
postulate natural radiation from matter or energetic processes in relatively nearby space
as the source of MBR.
8. CONTRIVED CHRONOLOGY?
The time line of events from the first instant of the BB until the present time, as
presented by various cosmologists in their attempts to reconcile BBT with quantum theory,
have been inconsistent with their own versions of BBT thus presenting serious chronology
As an example of this, although there are few if any BB adherents who believe in a
universe that has expanded at a constant rate since the BB, the chronology that is most
often presented indicates a fixed-rate universe that is 10 billion years old.(3,35,36)
That chronology, indicating a Hubble time of 10 billion years, requires a Hubble constant
of almost 100 km/sec/mpc (30 km/sec/million light years), a value far in excess of that
accepted by BB supporters. For a Hubble constant of that value, all of the usual BB
cosmological cases (somewhat open, flat or closed) would require the BB to have occurred
at about 2/3 of Hubble time, or approximately 6-2/3 billion years ago, which is
incompatible with current BB thinking.
The great majority of BB advocates believe in a considerable degree of gravitational
deceleration of the expansion of the universe since the BB for either a somewhat open, a
flat or a closed universe. For those cases the plot of energy and temperature vs. time
would require considerable decreasing slope as time progresses, rather than the linear
expansion that is usually depicted.
Furthermore, the nonlinearity required for a decelerating expansion, would require
considerable modification to the occurrence of quantum theory events (and other events,
such as the decoupling), in the BB chronology as customarily presented.
Study of this matter leads one to suspect that the timing of the events of the BBT
chronology as usually shown may merely have been contrived. Any amount of energy, measured
or theoretical, required for the creation of particles of quantum theory can be placed
between the infinite energy (infinite temperature and density) of the BB singularity and
the present low energy level of space (a temperature of 2.7 K).
Adding to these inconsistencies is the lack of consideration of the impact of inflation
theory on BB chronology. Although many of those who present chronological information have
accepted inflation theory, and must be aware of its impact, they continue to describe BB
events essentially in accordance with a chronology, already inconsistent with
pre-inflation BBT, that shows a linear decrease in energy and a linear increase in size as
functions of time.
9. SOURCE OF LIGHT ELEMENTS?
The agreement of the observed abundances of light elements in the universe with those
predicted by various BB cosmologists is frequently cited as one of the primary proofs of
their theory, but this proof also faces some difficulties.
The study of historical data shows that over the years predictions of the ratio of helium
to hydrogen in a BB universe have been repeatedly adjusted to agree with the latest
available estimates of that ratio as observed in the real universe. The estimated ratio is
dependent on a ratio of baryons to photons (the baryon number) that has also been
arbitrarily adjusted to agree with the currently established helium to hydrogen ratio.
These appear to have not been predictions, but merely adjustments of theory
("retrodictions") to accommodate current data.
BB cosmologists tell us that the observed ratio of helium to hydrogen in the universe
could only have been the result of BB thermonucleosynthesis. However, that presumes, not
only a precise knowledge of the the processes of a BB, but a precise knowledge of the
processes of other possible cosmologies. If, for example, another cosmology should suggest
that helium has accumulated as a result of other processes(37,38) (such as stellar
nucleosynthesis over tens of billions of years), having given other cosmological
possibilities little or no consideration, on what basis might a BB theorist deny that?
In addition to helium, BB theorists have in the past maintained that other light elements
including boron, beryllium and lithium, can only have been produced by BB nucleosynthesis
(fusion). However, it has been found that these elements can be produced by cosmic rays
acting on supernovae remnants (fission).(29) It is also possible for deuterium to have
been produced by processes in the formation of galaxies, rather than in BB nucleosynthesis
as claimed by those theorists.
Adding to those problems, recent observations have shown that the abundance of helium is
less than that indicated by standard BBT, and that the ratios of beryllium and boron are
inconsistent with that theory.(39-41)
10. DOPPLER RED SHIFT?
Inconsistencies regarding the current interpretation of observed red shift present many
problems to BBT. Many of those have to do with the distant massive bodies that are called
As presently utilized, red shift data results in the perception of extremely great masses
and brilliances of quasars. Variations in the level of radiation from these sources(27,42)
require their size to be extremely small and their densities to be extremely great. These
extreme characteristics suggest that the present interpretation of red shift data as
Doppler shift doesn't tell the whole story about the speed and distance of remote massive
bodies in space.
Red shift data as presently used also shows quasars to be "clumped" at great
distances (great relative velocities). According to BBT that would require the formation
of large numbers of quasars too soon after the BB. That interpretation of red shift data
also results in the anomaly of quasars at various distances, and thus of various ages,
that are observed to have similar electromagnetic spectrums.
But perhaps even in greater conflict with BBT, the clumping of distant quasars in all
directions would appear to put us at the center of the universe. That situation, known as
the Copernican Problem, is in direct conflict with the basic BBT tenet of smoothness; that
is, isotropy and homogeneity.
Dependence on Doppler red shift for the determination of velocity and distance also
results in the perception of an unreasonably large number of distant quasars having
associated superluminal flares.(32,43) Some simple mathematics can show that, if the
perceived distance of those quasars was less, fewer of such flares would be indicated.
(Also, mathematical investigation of the velocity relationships between quasars perceived
to be at great distances and their perceived superluminal flares, has provided
BB theorists accept special relativity, and thus the application of the Lorentz
transformations to the red shift of radiation from galaxies and quasars that are believe
to be at great distances and receding from us at "relativistic" speeds. Those
speeds are thus believed to result in red shifts that are greater than would be expected
by the linear application of a Hubble constant. That would appear to be reasonable for a
universe consisting of matter that is expanding as the normal result of an explosion.
However, because BB theorists insist that it is not the matter of the universe, but the
space of the universe that is expanding, I have suggested an additional problem: Although
the Lorentz transformations may apply to matter, they do not apply to massless space. It
is therefore inappropriate to apply them to a BB universe.
In addition to quasar related problems, there is considerable observational evidence
indicating that the presently accepted interpretation of red shift data is to some degree
erroneous. Observations over many years by highly regarded astronomers have shown many
"companion galaxies"(27) to have considerably higher red shifts than those of
unmistakably neighboring galaxies. Most notable among those astronomers is Halton Arp, who
has also provided considerable evidence that radiation from newly formed galaxies is in
some manner red shifted by other than Doppler effect.(44)
There are a number of highly regarded scientists, including Dr. Grote Reber of the
University of Tasmania and Dr. Paul Marmet of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics in
Ottawa, who support "tired light" or Compton scattering concepts.(45-48) They
postulate that, as radiation travels through intergalactic space, it looses energy and its
wavelength is increased, perhaps adding to the Doppler shift that is the result of
relative speed. However, some of those scientists believe that all red shift is due to
causes other than expansion, in other words, that the universe is static.
Although it has long ago been ruled out by BB cosmologists as an important factor, massive
dense bodies, that may not be massive enough and dense enough to become black holes, may
be massive enough and dense enough to cause appreciable amounts of gravitational red shift
(Einstein shift)(24,49) of their radiation.
In support of this it is known, for example, that even our sun has a small gravitational
red shift (z Å 0.000002); and it is suggested that the differences in masses and radii of
stars of some binary pairs(50) may be the cause of observed differences in their average
Any of these possible causes of red shift may add to Doppler red shift (if that exists)
and thus cause the appearance of greater relative speed and distance of quasars and other
massive bodies in space. If that should prove to be so, problems regarding the
interpretation of red shift data might be eased or eliminated.
It seems obvious that, if other causes of the red shift of radiation from massive bodies
were given consideration, problems resulting from the conventional interpretation of red
shift might be eased. Quasars might be found to be much closer and their velocity much
lower, thus solving the perception of excessive brilliance, mass, density, large numbers
of superluminal flares and other problems, including the clumping of quasars at great
(If red shift were found to have causes other than or in addition to Doppler effects, the
velocity of distant quasars would fall on a lower, more linear portion of a plot of
velocity vs. red shift that incorporates relativistic effects [as derived from the
Einstein- Lorentz transformations]. The perception of clumping would thus be reduced.)
It should be pointed out that Hubble himself was not convinced that red shift was
exclusively due to Doppler effect. Up to the time of his death he maintained that
velocities inferred from red shift measurements should be referred to as apparent
11. WHAT SPACE CURVATURE?
No references to negatively curved space can be found in Einstein's Relativity, The
Special and General Theories, or in other early books on Einstein's work such as Biography
of Physics by George Gamow or Understanding Relativity by Stanley Goldberg. In all of
those there is only discussion of positively curved space resulting from gravitational
attraction (or equivalent acceleration).
Not only have BBers thoroughly accepted the questionable concept of positively curved
space but, based on some later interpretations of relativity,(5,8) they have decided that
space may be negatively curved. Accordingly, the closed BB universe has positively curved
space, the flat BB universe has uncurved space, and the open BB universe has negatively
curved "saddle shaped" space. (In the second two of these space doesn't close on
itself, and it has no edge.)
According to Einstein, space is curved due to the presence of matter, but is only
positively curved. Therefore, if it is believed that space is uncurved or negatively
curved, it has occurred to me that there must be something in the BB universe to overcome
the positive curvature resulting from the presence of the matter of the universe.
If the universe is flat, that "something" must be just sufficient to compensate
for the gravitational influence of the matter of the universe and, if the universe is
open, it must be sufficient to overpower that influence.
In other words, logic would seem to indicate that BB theorists' acceptance of uncurved
space of a flat universe, or the negatively curved space of an open universe, implicitly
acknowledges the existence of negative gravity. There must be more than an equation to
provide the rationale for flat or negative curvature in a universe of significant mass;
the mathematics must represent some physical phenomena; something like cosmic
For many years it had been thought that a term in Einstein's equations known as cosmic
repulsion was his "greatest mistake"; even he had reached that conclusion. But
it would seem that BB cosmologists have changed their minds on that score. Some of them
have now accepted cosmic repulsion, now called the cosmological constant, as an essential
feature of inflation theory.(1)
Some BB theorists have also suggested (quite logically) that cosmic repulsion provides the
solution to the age paradox. If it is like negative gravity, and of sufficient magnitude,
the expansion of the universe in the past may have been slower than indicated by the
presently observed Hubble constant. If that is so, the BB may have occurred sufficiently
long ago for their universe to be older than some stars are observed to be, thus rescuing
the BB from its age problem. That, of course, would result in a kind of universe not
normally envisioned by BB enthusiasts; one that has an ever increasing rate of expansion.
(As interpreted from red shift data in the usual manner, out to a red shift of one [z =
1], astronomical evidence would appear to indicate a universe having a fixed rate of
expansion.(13) However, because of measurement uncertainties and possible relativistic
effects at a relative distance of about one billion light years and beyond, there is
considerable doubt concerning the constancy of the Hubble "constant".)
It would seem that logical inconsistencies regarding the curvature of space might tend to
discredit the prevailing BB cosmology.
12. DOES INFLATION FIX THE BIG BANG?
Inflation theory, that was invented for the purpose, is said to provide simple solutions
to some of the problems of pre-inflation BBT.(3,4) However, convincing support for claims
of solutions to the singularity, smoothness, horizon, and flatness problems is lacking.
Inflation theorists have alleged that the inflationary expansion of the early BB universe,
involving speeds orders of magnitude greater than that of light,(3,4) did not involve the
travel of mass or energy, and thus did not violate the theory of relativity in solving the
singularity problem. But how inflation, as opposed to ordinary expansion, can in some
manner displace all the mass or energy of the universe without physically moving it,
defies common understanding. A violation of Einstein's prohibition of speeds in excess of
that of light seems to be inherent in that process.
The quantum concept of false vacuum, previously postulated only to deal with the
spontaneous generation of the tiny fundamental particles of modern physics, is called upon
by inflation theory to instantaneously produce the mass and energy of the entire universe.
But this sudden appearance of the universe from the energy of vacuum,(1) still essentially
out-of-nothing, does not escape the perception of an enormous violation of the law of
conservation of mass/energy.
Inflation theorists have also explained that an enormous cosmic repulsive force (an
enormously large cosmological constant)(1) provided the expansive force necessary for an
exponential expansion of the universe. However, as previously noted, both the birth of the
universe from a gigantic vacuum fluctuation(2,52) and the expansion of the universe from a
gigantic cosmic repulsive force are speculations that have no means of verification.
Perhaps as a form of insurance for their claim of inflation's enormous expansion of the
early universe without violation of the conservation of mass/energy, some inflation
theorists have borrowed the BB zero net energy idea that an equivalent amount of energy is
merely on loan from the energy of the vacuum; that loan to be repaid upon the ultimate
collapse of the universe.
Because of the apparent impossibility of a collapsing closed universe, that repayment
might be put off indefinitely. However, even if the BB universe were some day to collapse,
that wouldn't happen for many billions of years: seemingly a long time for the loan of all
of its mass and energy to go unpaid. Furthermore, those who support inflation theory
espouse, not a closed universe, but a flat one, so the zero-net-energy idea appears to
conflict with their own beliefs.
It would seem that inflation has also failed to solve the other old problems of BBT. To
state that inflation smoothed the universe by stretching out irregularities of the first
instant of the BB, but left just enough of them to provide the "seeds" for the
later formation of galaxies may be a matter of faith, not science. To state that inflation
at orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light solved the horizon problem that had
been attributed to the high rate of expansion of pre-inflation BBT, may be illogical. To
state that inflation, that is said to result in an exponential expansion of somewhere
between 10 to the 50th power (Guth's original inflation)(3) and 10 to the 1,000,000th
power (Linde's new inflation),(4) would cause anything greater than a minutely low average
density, far less than the critical density required for a flat BB universe, seems
difficult to accept.
Inflation theorists postulate a universe that expanded to unimaginable size, and thus
claim that we can observe only a tiny portion of it. But they continue to tell us that
quasars can be seen to within a small percentage of the distance to the BB; two very
conflicting ideas. In addition, some BB cosmologists who have accepted inflation, continue
to describe events essentially in accordance with the typical chronology of pre-inflation
BB, having a linear decrease in temperature (energy) and a linear increase in size as
functions of time, without consideration of the appropriate changes necessary to
In addition to its apparent failure to solve pre-inflation BB problems, it would seem that
inflation has introduced some new problems and complexities.
As an example of new complexities, multiple domains(4) (multiple worlds or
universes)(52,53) are introduced, and with them, massive walls. But domain walls, along
with magnetic monopoles(3,4) (a theoretical problem of early inflation theory), are
dispersed by the greatly increased exponential expansion of new inflation theory, to the
edge of our domain where they no longer trouble us. These are just a couple of the many
fanciful ideas that have resulted from speculation about such things as grand unified
theories (GUTs) and a theory of everything (TOE) in the quest for support of BBT.
13. WHAT IS DECELERATING?
A new quandary, that I have called the BB deceleration problem, has occurred to me.(24)
If the universe is expanding and, if that expansion is decelerating due to
gravitational attraction of the mass of the universe, as BB theorists believe, they have
not made it clear whether the expansion of space is decelerating, or whether the expansion
of the matter of space is decelerating.
Most BBers agree that, rather than the matter of space, space itself is expanding.
However, if the expansion of space is decelerating, the physical law that relates the
deceleration of space with gravitation has not been made clear.
It would seem reasonable to expect the expansion of the matter of a BB universe to be
decelerating, but, if that is so, matter must have an increasing inward velocity relative
to expanding space; or perhaps the expansion of both matter and space is decelerating
possibly doubling the effect of gravity. A lack of clarity regarding this matter would
seem to add to the difficulties of BBT.
14. DOES LOGIC PREVAIL?
In addition to those suggested above, some miscellaneous logical oversights regarding BBT
are presented in the these closing paragraphs. The first of these has been alluded to, but
is repeated for emphasis. BB cosmologists repeatedly ascribe closed universe attributes to
the flat and open BB universe cases. Those attributes include the concepts of closed,
curved, expanding space that has no edge, and a centerless universe in which the BB
happened everywhere: ideas that do not apply to a flat Euclidian universe or an open
universe of saddle shaped space. It would seem that in those cases the universe must have
a center at which the BB once occurred, thus denying a basic tenet of BBT.
Because they believe it solves one of BBT's major problems (despite its apparent
unlikelihood), some BB cosmologists still favor a closed cycling BB universe. They feel
that, because it didn't come out-of-nothing, but from the remains of a previous universe,
the explosion of a collapsed universe avoids the singularity problem. However, there is no
theory in physics that can account for the re-explosion, or "bounce", of the
universe.(2) Famous physics professor John Archibald Wheeler, who believed in the bounce,
once said that black holes are "laboratory models" for the collapsing universe
case.(54) However, prevailing theory denies that a giant black hole might explode.(55)
BB advocates have criticized the once competing steady state cosmology of Hoyle, Bondi and
Gold because it provided no explanation for the origin of the universe. However, at the
same time, some of those espouse a cycling BB universe, that has repeatedly collapsed and
re-exploded in the past (and that might continue to do so in the future), which exhibits
the same no-origin flaw that they ascribed to steady state theory.
BB theorists have in the past indicated that all galactic formation had started in the
same early era, that is, within the first billion years following the BB. However, recent
evidence has increasingly indicated much later and continuing formation of
galaxies.(56,57) In the light of this evidence the previous view is no longer stressed.
However, it would seem that such "waffling" might tend to discredit BBT.
Furthermore, it seems unlikely for galaxies to have formed from particles of matter that
were initially departing from each other at or above the speed of light. No known force,
gravity, electrodynamics or other, may have been strong enough to cause those particles to
accrete. This problem has been recognized by some BB theorists in the past who have
postulated that turbulence in the early BB could have started the necessary accumulation.
However, it is difficult to imagine, even in the presence of turbulence, how the great
departing speed of particles could allow their accretion. Furthermore, the insistence of
most BB theorists on extreme smoothness of the BB explosion would also seem to deny that
Theorists insist that an expanding universe provides important evidence in support of BBT.
However, they seem to ignore the fact that expansion (if true) might support other
cosmologies, including the rejected steady state cosmology.
Recent convincing evidence that the number of families of fundamental particles in the
universe is limited to just three, and recently observed "lensing"(49,58) of
radiation from distant matter by the gravitational fields of closer matter in space (as
predicted by Einstein) have both been cited as added proof of BBT. However, as in the
cases of Hubble expansion, the presence of MBR, and the abundance of light elements, these
observations might provide support to alternate cosmologies equally well.
BB theorists have implied that their solution to Olber's paradox,(24,27,59) that the
relativistic speeds (large red shifts) of distant bodies of the universe dim the sky,
provides proof of BBT. But, instead of relying on that solution, it might be more
reasonable to accept the straightforward solution that Olber himself had long ago offered,
that closer, smaller, cooler matter can obscure visible radiation from more distant,
larger, warmer matter of space. In his discussion of C. V. L. Charlier's clustering
hierarchical universe(13), P. J. E. Peebles has recognized that the view of distant
galaxies is obscured by dust in our galaxy. And certainly telescopic images of supernovae
appear to show that "dust" hides more distant matter. If correct, that solution
would seem to support no cosmology in particular.
There has been a consistent pattern of neglect of evidence that might tend to discredit
the prevailing BB cosmology. Examples of this are the vast amount of data compiled over
many years by Halton Arp that shows the proximity of objects of higher red shifts to
galaxies of lower red shift,(44) and by Anthony Peratt regarding the role of plasma
physics in the formation of galaxies.(60) Although that data is well known, its impact on
the field of cosmology is all but ignored.
15. WHAT TO DO?
Although the problems presented here may seem overwhelming to those who question big bang
theory, mainstream cosmologists insist that, like Dr. Pangloss, theirs is the best of all
possible worlds. They are confident that all BB problems will ultimately be overcome by
further pursuit of evidence in support of that theory. However, on the chance that they
could be wrong, it might be prudent to also pursue some alternate paths of investigation.
One of the more prominent alternate cosmologies that deserves more attention is that
presented by Anthony Peratt and Eric Lerner(61); a plasma cosmology based on the earlier
work of Hannes Alfven, wherein electromagnetic forces have determined the evolution
of the universe rather than gravitational force in accordance with General Relativity.
The tired light concepts that deny Doppler red shift, and the vast amount of
"anomalous red shift" data that has been presented by Halton Arp, both of which
tend to deny a major premise of big bang theory, certainly should be taken more seriously.
Some BB dissenters, including those who support tired light theories, postulate a static
steady state universe. However, I feel that the evidence for expansion, at least in the
"near universe" (out to many thousands of light years?) is quite convincing, and
therefore, have proposed a new steady state cosmology(24) similar to the old SS cosmology
of Hoyle, Gold, and Bondi.(62)
In addition to the apparent imperfection of its perfect cosmological principle, a lack of
rationale for either the generation of new matter in space or for expansion of the
universe, appears to have caused the failure of old SS theory failed to win acceptance.
This newly postulated SS cosmology overcomes those failings by proposing the generation of
new matter from the energy of space in accordance with quantum theory, and expansion due
to Einstein's previously condemned Ð but now accepted in inflation theory Ð cosmic
(These are proposed, not on the incredibly enormous scales required by inflation theory,
but on scales just sufficient for the generation of fundamental particles and to overcome
the force of gravity in remote empty space.)
One of these postulated alternate cosmologies, combinations or portions of those or
others, unknown or omitted here, may or may not prove to be viable but, in view of the
many problems of big bang theory, alternates possibilities certainly deserve more serious
1 Much of this paper is from The Cult of the Big Bang
(Cosmic Sense Books, 1995, ISBN
0-9643188-0-6) by the same author.
1. P. Davies, Superforce
(Simon & Schuster, NY, 1984).
2. E. P. Tryon, Nature (14 December 1973).
3. A. H. Guth, and Paul J. Steinhardt, Sci. Am. (May 1984).
4. A. Linde, New Scientist (7 March 1985).
5. M. Rees and J. Silk, Sci. Am. (June 1970).
6. E. McMullin, Am. Philos. Quarterly (July 1881).
7. G. Gamow, Sci. Am. (March 1954).
8. J. V. Narlikar, New Scientist (2 July 1981).
9. F. Flam, Science (November 1991).
10. S. A. Gregory, and L. A. Thompson, Sci. Am. (March 1982).
11. A. Fisher, Popular Science (May 1991).
12. A. Chaikin, Omni (August 1991).
13. P.J.E. Peebles, Principles
of Physical Cosmology (Princeton University Press, 1993).
14. D. Goldsmith, Discover (October 1992).
15. A. F. Davidsen, Science (15 January 1993).16. R. Jayawardhana, Astronomy (June 1993).
17. W. Freedman, Sci. Am. (November 1992).
18. J. R. Gott III, J. E. Gunn, D. N. Schramm and B. M. Tinsley, Sci. Am. (March 1976).
19. G. Abell, D. Morrison and S. Wolfe, Realm of the Universe
(Saunders College Publishing, Philadelphia, 1988).
20. S. Gilkis, P. M. Lubin, S. S. Meyer, and R. F. Silverberg, Sci. Am. (January 1990).
21. D. Hegyi, "Interstellar Medium" in Encyclopedia of Physics, 2nd ed. (VCH
Publishers, NY, 991).
22. J. Silk, The Big
Bang (W. H. Freeman, NY, 1989). (Hardcover)
23. S. van der Bergh anmd J. Hesser, Sci. Am. (January 1993).
24. W. C. Mitchell, The
Cult of the Big Bang (Cosmic Sense Books, NV, 1995).
25. J. Boslough, Masters
of Time (Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, 1992).
26. D. Sciama, "Cosmology Before and After Quasars" in Cosmology +1 (W. H.
27. H. Friedman, The
Amazing Universe (The National Geographic Society, Washington, DC,1985).
28. S. G. Brush, Sci. Am. (August 1992).
29. S. Weinberg, The
First Three Minutes (Basic Books, NY, 1977).
30. R. V. Coleman, "Whiskers" in Encyclopedia of Physics, 2nd ed. (VCH
Publishers, NY, 1991).
31. J. Kanipe, Astronomy (April 1992).
32. H. C. Arp, G. Burbidge, J. V. Narlikar, N. C. Wickramasinghe, Nature (30 August 1990).
33. P. Yam, Sci. Am. (October 1990).
34. "Before There Was Earth, There Was Lightning" in Discover (July 1993).
35. J. D. Barrow and J. Silk, Sci. Am. (April 1980).
36. D. N. Schramm, and G. Steigman, Sci. Am. (June 1988).
37. R. Cowen, Science News (19 October 1991).
38. S. Bowyer, Sci. Am. (August 1994).
39. A. Gibbons, Sci. Am. (January 1992).
40. M. Bartusiak, Discover (August 1992).
41. J. A. Frieman, and B.-A. Gradwohl, Science (4 June 1993).
42. M. Schmidt, and F. Bello, "The Evolution of Quasars" in Cosmology + 1 (W. H.
Freeman, NY, 1977).
43. C. D. Dermer, and R. Schlickeiser, Science (18 September 1992).
44. H. C. Arp, "Fitting Theory to Observation Ð From Stars to Cosmology" in
Progress in New Cosmologies: Beyond the Big Bang (Plenum Press, NY, 1993).
45. E. Hubble, Observational Approach to Cosmology, (Oxford University Press, 1937). (see also)
46. G. Reber, "Endless, Boundless, Stable Universe," in University of
Tasmania Occasional Paper, (University of Tasmania,1977).
47. P. Marmet and G. Reber, IEEE Trans. on Plasma Sci. (April 1989).
48. P. Marmet, Phys. Essays 1,24, (1988).
49. P. J. E. Peebles, D. N. Schramm, E. L. Turner and R. G. Kron, Nature (29 August 1991).
50. P. Marmet, IEEE Trans. on Plasma Phys. (February 1990).
51. D. E. Osterbrock, J. A. Gwinn and R. S. Brashear, Sci. Am. (July 1993).
52. G. Gale, "Cosmological Fecundity: Theories of Multiple Universes" in
Physical Cosmology and Philosophy edited by J. Leslie (Macmillan, NY, 1990)
53. B. J. Carr, Irish Astron. J. (March 1982).
54. J. A. Wheeler, "Beyond the End of Time" in C. W. Misner, K. A. Throne and J.
A. Wheeler, Gravitation (W. H. Freeman, NY, 1971). (see also)
55. T. J.-L. Courvoisier, and E. I. Robson, Sci. Am. (June 1991).
56. F. Flam, Science (28 February 1992).
57. S. Flamsteed, Discover (24 June 1992).
58. Jacqueline N. Hewitt, "Gravitational Lenses" in Encyclopedia of Physics ,
2nd ed. (VCH Publishers, NY, 1991).
59. A. Webster, "The Cosmic Background Radiation" in Cosmology +1 (W. H.
60. A. L. Peratt, IEEE Trans. of Plasma Sci. (December 1996).
61. E. J. Lerner, The
Big Bang Never Happened (Times Books, 1991).
62. H. Bondi , F. Hoyle, and T. Gold, Rival Theories of Cosmology (Oxford University
William C. Mitchell
P. O. Box 3472
Carson City, NV 89702 U.S.A.