Re: Evidence for "Big Bang Theory"

Phil A. Willems (
23 Apr 1995 03:49:07 GMT

In article <>,
Gil Hardwick <> wrote:
>In article <3n1jkg$>, Richard A. Schumacher ( writes:
>>If you have a competing theory which is simpler than a Big Bang
>>theory, and which explains cosmological redshifts, the cosmic
>>background radiation (including temperature, spectrum and isotropy),
>>primordial elemental abundances, and for which the Sagdeev-Ze'eldovich
>>effect is not a problem, please describe it.
>The difficulty here appears only when the urge in certain individuals
>to regard observed phenomena as necessarily problematic overwhelms
>them, and the further and probably unrelated urge to theorise grabs at
>their intellectual processes.

One goal of science IS to construct a theory which explains
(that is, describes quantitatively) observed phenomena. When an
observation defies currently accepted theory (and this includes common
sense), it is therefore problematic. Cosmological redshift is one
such observation, because it implies a) an expanding universe with a
time of birth, or b) that cosmological redshifts depend on something
other than velocity. Both implications were startling.
> [paragraph omitted]
>Nobody has to present a counter theory to your theory at all. We are
>as free to simply ignore your theory altogether, without losing our
>standing as scientists.

Ignoring a largely successful theory does lower your standing
as a scientist. It is of course impossible to critically evaluate
every theory presented, but when one begins to successfully predict
new phenomena (like the Big Bang predicts a cosmic microwave background),
it must be considered, and if not accepted, then criticized in some
rational way.
>The first criterion is common sense, isn't it? Such that none of this
>sort of endless competitive foot-stamping and confrontationist humbug
>arising from such extremely poor levels of data is regarded necessary
>in science in any event. Contradicting the point of our having agreed
>to a systematic and uniformly applicable method of enquiry in the first
>place, isn't it?
>What is the matter with just waiting until more facts come to light?

What do you mean? Physicists have learned a long time ago
that "common sense" is no match for quantum mechanics and relativity
theory when descibing the subatomic world. Privileging common sense
over a predictive theory is a form of anthropocentric hubris, for it
implies that the relatively narrow slice of the cosmos we interact
with daily is all that matters, that there is nothing new under the

I ask you- what is the matter with using our models to
guide us in collecting our facts?

>He who refuses to qualify data is doomed to rant.
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