[extropy-chat] An Open Letter to the Scientific Community.

Everitt Mickey evmick at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 4 16:27:53 UTC 2004

While browsing thru some stuff at a truck stop the other day I came 
across this.


An Open Letter to the Scientific Community

(Published in New Scientist, May 22, 2004)

The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, 
things that we have never observed-- inflation, dark matter and dark 
energy are the most prominent examples. Without them, there would be a 
fatal contradiction between the observations made by astronomers and the 
predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would 
this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way 
of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the 
least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.

But the big bang theory can't survive without these fudge factors. 
Without the hypothetical inflation field, the big bang does not predict 
the smooth, isotropic cosmic background radiation that is observed, 
because there would be no way for parts of the universe that are now 
more than a few degrees away in the sky to come to the same temperature 
and thus emit the same amount of microwave radiation.

Without some kind of dark matter, unlike any that we have observed on 
Earth despite 20 years of experiments, big-bang theory makes 
contradictory predictions for the density of matter in the universe. 
Inflation requires a density 20 times larger than that implied by big 
bang nucleosynthesis, the theory's explanation of the origin of the 
light elements. And without dark energy, the theory predicts that the 
universe is only about 8 billion years old, which is billions of years 
younger than the age of many stars in our galaxy.

What is more, the big bang theory can boast of no quantitative 
predictions that have subsequently been validated by observation. The 
successes claimed by the theory's supporters consist of its ability to 
retrospectively fit observations with a steadily increasing array of 
adjustable parameters, just as the old Earth-centred cosmology of 
Ptolemy needed layer upon layer of epicycles.

Yet the big bang is not the only framework available for understanding 
the history of the universe. Plasma cosmology and the steady-state model 
both hypothesise an evolving universe without beginning or end. These 
and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of 
the cosmos, including the abundances of light elements, the generation 
of large-scale structure, the cosmic background radiation, and how the 
redshift of far-away galaxies increases with distance. They have even 
predicted new phenomena that were subsequently observed, something the 
big bang has failed to do.

Supporters of the big bang theory may retort that these theories do not 
explain every cosmological observation. But that is scarcely surprising, 
as their development has been severely hampered by a complete lack of 
funding. Indeed, such questions and alternatives cannot even now be 
freely discussed and examined. An open exchange of ideas is lacking in 
most mainstream conferences. Whereas Richard Feynman could say that 
"science is the culture of doubt", in cosmology today doubt and dissent 
are not tolerated, and young scientists learn to remain silent if they 
have something negative to say about the standard big bang model. Those 
who doubt the big bang fear that saying so will cost them their funding.

Even observations are now interpreted through this biased filter, judged 
right or wrong depending on whether or not they support the big bang. So 
discordant data on red shifts, lithium and helium abundances, and galaxy 
distribution, among other topics, are ignored or ridiculed. This 
reflects a growing dogmatic mindset that is alien to the spirit of free 
scientific enquiry.

Today, virtually all financial and experimental resources in cosmology 
are devoted to big bang studies. Funding comes from only a few sources, 
and all the peer-review committees that control them are dominated by 
supporters of the big bang. As a result, the dominance of the big bang 
within the field has become self-sustaining, irrespective of the 
scientific validity of the theory.

Giving support only to projects within the big bang framework undermines 
a fundamental element of the scientific method -- the constant testing 
of theory against observation. Such a restriction makes unbiased 
discussion and research impossible. To redress this, we urge those 
agencies that fund work in cosmology to set aside a significant fraction 
of their funding for investigations into alternative theories and 
observational contradictions of the big bang. To avoid bias, the peer 
review committee that allocates such funds could be composed of 
astronomers and physicists from outside the field of cosmology.

Allocating funding to investigations into the big bang's validity, and 
its alternatives, would allow the scientific process to determine our 
most accurate model of the history of the universe.

Initial signers:
(Institutions for identification only)

Halton Arp, Max-Planck-Institute Fur Astrophysik (Germany)
Andre Koch Torres Assis, State University of Campinas (Brazil)
Yuri Baryshev, Astronomical Institute, St. Petersburg State University 
Ari Brynjolfsson, Applied Radiation Industries (USA)
Hermann Bondi, Churchill College, Cambridge (UK)
Timothy Eastman, Plasmas International (USA)
Chuck Gallo, Superconix, Inc.(USA)
Thomas Gold, Cornell University (emeritus) (USA)
Amitabha Ghosh, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (India)
Walter J. Heikkila, University of Texas at Dallas (USA)
Michael Ibison, Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin (USA)
Thomas Jarboe, Washington University (USA)
Jerry W. Jensen, ATK Propulsion (USA)
Menas Kafatos, George Mason University (USA)
Eric J. Lerner, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics (USA)
Paul Marmet, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics(retired) (Canada)
Paola Marziani, Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica, Osservatorio 
Astronomico di Padova (Italy)
Gregory Meholic, The Aerospace Corporation (USA)
Jacques Moret-Bailly, Université Dijon (retired) (France)
Jayant Narlikar, IUCAA(emeritus) and College de France (India,France)
Marcos Cesar Danhoni Neves, State University of Maringá (Brazil)
Charles D. Orth, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA)
R. David Pace, Lyon College (USA)
Georges Paturel, Observatoire de Lyon (France)
Jean-Claude Pecker, College de France (France)
Anthony L. Peratt, Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA)
Bill Peter, BAE Systems Advanced Technologies (USA)
David Roscoe, Sheffield University (UK)
Malabika Roy, George Mason University (USA)
Sisir Roy, George Mason University (USA)
Konrad Rudnicki, Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Domingos S.L. Soares, Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil)
John L. West, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of 
Technology (USA)
James F. Woodward, California State University, Fullerton (USA)

I personally never heard of none of them guys.....probably a bunch of 
cranks....as are the institutions they represent...why...not a single 
truck drivers school amongst the lot.....

We probably ought to dismiss what they say entirely....after all 
everyone KNOWS the "Big Bang" can't be wrong..

(sitting in south Georgia...waiting on a load Tuesday....bored to 
tears.....I HATE Holidays)

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