Re: Big Bang: How widely accepted?

Roelof Ruules (
Fri, 25 Aug 1995 13:10:42 GMT

> "RR" == Robert Roosen <> writes:

>> 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.

>RR> Yes, that is my point exactly. Cosmology as an astronomical
>RR> subject has pretty well disappeared under the onslaught of the
>RR> physicists. Cosmology as an anthropological topic is not even
>RR> considered.
Hmmm... Cosmology, as an astronomical subject, basically is about the
history of the universe. It is that part of astronomy that tries to
find how it all started (if it started at all), and how it developed to
what it is at this moment. To find that out, you need a lot of physics.
Knowing how a system of stars evolves involves knowing how gravity at
large works. Knowing how a single star evolves means knowing how
particles interact, how fusion reactions go, how (again) gravity works,
and so on. Trying to work your way back into the past from what we see
now means using a lot of physical theory. It involves relativity
theory, both general and special. It involves quantum mechanics. It
involves electrodynamics, plasma physics, particle physics.
In other words, there is not a subject in astronomy that does not also
belong to the realm of physics. In terms of history of science, it was
not an onslaught of innocent astronomers by vile physicist.
It was how physics, and astronomy with it, evolved.

>RR> Calling the Big Bang cosmology was a great PR move on the part
>RR> of the physicists. However, it has also narrowed the definition
>RR> of the word to where it has lost many of its original meanings.
As I explained, cosmology is about trying to find out (among other
things) where the universe started. The BBT is one explanation of how
it came about, and hence it is rightfully termed cosmology. The SST is
another explanation, in fact saying that it did not start at some point
but that it somehow always has been the way it is now, and shall be the
way it is now --- on a large scale. So, SST also is cosmology.
There was no PR move. If you're trying to imply those ugly high
energy physicists forced their BBT on us, thus eradicating good old
cosmologist Sir Fred and his SST, you're wrong. The fight between BBT
and SST is a fight between differing physical (or cosmological)
theories. As it is now, evidence generally favours BBT.
As for the `original' meaning of the word cosmology: obviously, the
word has changed its meaning, as so often happens with words, at least
in the field of astronomy. But the meaning it has now has been attached
to it for at least half a century. Physics is not anthropology, so
maybe the word cosmology-the-anthropological-word means something else
than cosmology-the-astronomical-word. Maybe you can explain what
anthropology means by it?