Re: Big Bang: How widely accepted?

Andrew Cooke (
28 Aug 1995 16:55:08 GMT

i think `almost universally accepted' is a good description of the
way the big-bang model is perceived at the moment in astronomy. i
*don't* mean that people believe it is correct, but it *is* the
working hypothesis that is used `almost universally' to interpret

of course that doesn't exclude alternative models. new scientist
carried an interesting article on this a while back (i think! - i
read something somewhere :-)

on the other hand, martin rees's new book starts by listing why
he feels that the big bang is still the best bet. (does anyone
have it to hand? - i think plasma people might be cheered that
he gives the big bang odds that are reasonably low).

i think you have to be careful (and i guess it must be difficult
when working on alternative theories) to remember that because
people use it as the standard model, it does not imply some
sort of religious belief. hopefully we're (astronomers) a bit more
rational than this (or any other) usenet group...


p.s. i realise that you may be talking about outside astronomy,
i just wanted to put the case that astronomers are more open
than you imply. after all, we're supposed to be testing the
theories with observations. it's our job to show that it's
wrong! the big problem is still (imho) galaxy formation. we
still don't have a good relationship between observables and the
theory, which is bad news for any science...

In article <>,
Wesley Taylor <> wrote:
>In article <> Iain Coleman <iain> writes:
>>The big bang _is_ almost universally accepted, as it fits the observational
>>evidence. Unfortunately, it's hard to find good popular treatments of the
>>theory (sure, there's plenty of books out there, but not many good ones).
>>I strongly recommend you get hold of "The First Three Minutes" by Steven
>>Weinberg - it's a bit old, but still a fine treatment.
>You might try to read outside astronomy a little. Hannes Alfvens work in
>Plasma Physics has done some real damage to Big Bang. The BB theory is NOT
>almost universally accepted. There are some steady staters left and a whole
>new crop of plasma cosmology theorists. Try Lerners "The Big Bang Never
>Happened " as a start. He gives an excellent descripton of teh alternates
>and the problems in publishing challenges to big bang.

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