Re: Evidence for "Big Bang Theory"

Dan Drake (
27 Apr 1995 17:25:00 GMT

In message <3nkg4h$> - carl@SOL1.GPS.CALTECH.EDU (Carl J
Lydick) writes:
>In article <3nk6f7$>, (Dan Drake) writes:
>=>The current consensus is that photons do not have mass, but I've heard of
>=>ongoing research that asserts that photons may have a miniscule amount.
>=> james
>=Does anyone have a reference for this? It is literally incredible and
>=completely inconsistent with fundamental physics. I think.
>A scientific theory is evaluated on how closely it matches observations, not
>the other way around.

Gosh, are you sure? I never woulda guessed.

Actually, of course, it's not quite true. Observations that are too badly
inconsistent with everything else that's known (and "theory" is the name we
give to the means by which we test that consistency) tend to get swept under
the rug. _Usually_ this is right: nothing comes of, for instance, the one
set of experiments that contradicted the Michelson-Morley experiments and the
special theory of relativity. Now and then, of course, odd results, like the
M-M experiments in their time, call for a new theory.

>=Light travels at the speed of light (amazing!) and by simple relativity
>=theory can not have a non-zero rest mass.
>The speed of light in a vacuum is constant, TO WITHIN THE PRECISION OF OUR
> etc. etc. etc.

So, by your standards, we're not allowed to have any confidence in any
prediction made on the basis of masses of experimental data united by
self-consistent and well verified theories?

OK, I should always put in a disclaimer, for the benefit of those who think
that is about religion and ont about science (and I
admit there seem to be lots of those people): All this may be overthrown by
new data and new theories (or are you a no-theory Baconian?), which in
overthrowing what we know will have to include all that we now know as a
subset. Consider it disclaimed.

Dan Drake