Re: Evidence for "Big Bang Theory"

Gil Hardwick (
Mon, 24 Apr 1995 04:05:51 GMT

In article <3ncinj$>, Phil A. Willems ( writes:
> 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.

Startling? If you are susceptible to being startled by such things, I
guess. Others of us are startled by peopled being so startled, and go
on to study them instead of whatever it is they themselves happen to
be studying.

The discipline is called anthropology, yes?

> 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.

Ignoring a successful theory in physics may well lower my standing as
a physicist, I admit. But the relevance of such a circumstances is
wholly dependent on claims I may have made to standing as a physicist
to start with. Similarly, your ignoring lartgely successful theory in
anthropology does not make you less a physicist, does it?

You argument here is silly.

> 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

Maybe, but what has this to do with anthropology? Are you saying here
that anthropologists must necessarily comply with the behaviour and
rules of physicists, or have you merely x-posted your reply too far
out of context for it to make much sense to us here in sci.anthro?

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

Nothing the matter as such. I am merely curious that you physicists
get so excited about such large theories built on such small factual
evidence. Let's see some more substantial facts first, eh?

Oh, to be fair, we are able to go out and walk around freely among
vast crowds of subject material, while you guys can only peer from
afar through your telescopes. Scientific excitement grows in inverse
proportion to proximity to the material, yes?

He who refuses to qualify data is doomed to rant.
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