Re: Big Bang: How widely accepted?

Roelof Ruules (
Thu, 24 Aug 1995 13:14:48 GMT

In <> (Robert Roosen) writes:

>The Big Bang is in the curious position of
>being promoted as "the" cosmology by a group of physicists who have
>wandered into astronomy.
Physicists that "wander" into astronomy? For one thing, the Big Bang
theory (BBT) has all to do with physics. Just as astronomy has all to do
with physics.
Furthermore, the BBT is not promoted as _the_ cosmology; at best it is
held to be the most likely current theory to explain what happened.
I don't think any serious physicist/astronomer/cosmologist would
consider it the final theory.

> This theory is so tenaciously held and promoted by the physicists
>that Hoyle and Burbidge are excluded from conferences on the subject.
>Burbidge recently presented the John Schopp Memorial Lecture at San Diego
>State U in which he presented the above view. He said further that he
>and Hoyle have been reduced to cashing the lectures and heckling during
>the question period.
That's really sad. The truth, if there is any truth in this matter, is
that Hoyle's brainchild, the steady state theory (SST) is far less
likely than the BBT. Most evidence is in favour of the BBT. I say
most, not all; there certainly are things that the BBT cannot explain at
this moment. But that does not mean SST should be the theory.

> So the Big Bang is generally accepted as a nice description of events.
>As a cosmology, it is accepted by only a relative handful of scientists
>living primarily in Western society and working primarily in the field of
>high energy physics.
Well, if you would call a majority of those physicists a handful. As
I said, the BBT (and the SST for all that) have all to do with physics,
so let the physicists decide what they think is a likely theory.

>It is also widely promoted as "the final answer" by
>the media, and hence most people are only familiar with it and with no
>other competing theories or with the cosmologies accepted by societies
>other than Western society.
> The Hindus, for instance, would call it the "Great Flowering".
Unfortunately, the media tend to pick up scientific ideas and promote
them to final answers. See, for instance, the case of cold fusion---but
there are many cases like that.
If you'd care to look through the scientific literature, you will not
find terms like "the final answer". In the case of the BBT, you will
find authors disagreeing on many points, both great and small, and you
will find authors disagreeing with the BBT at large. But the general
direction is that of the BBT, not of SST.
What the media make of that is a sorry story. The thing is that
theories like BBT seem to be very straight-forward to laymen. Sort of
"there was a flash and a bang, and then there was a universe". But to
understand what we see, we need a lot of physics and mathematics. I
think Hoyle will agree on that.

>: Joel Duman <> wrote:
>: >I'm writing a short article on the Big Bang theory, including
>: >simulations. Much of the literature seems to imply that the theory is
>: >almost universally accepted. Is this just Hawking's influence? I'd
>: >like to hear from professionals who can talk to an amateur or amateurs
>: >who are serious.
To get a more scientific look at it, read something like "The First
Three Minutes" by Weinberg.
I have to emphasise that this is all about scientific theories. Both
the SST and the BBT fall into this frame of reference. What the Hindu's
would like to call it, that is their concern. But if people are more
attracted to the scientific expalanation than to other views, well then
so be it.