googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Exotic Theories Part 3: Inflation Cosmology

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Exotic Theories Part 3: Inflation Cosmology

The Big Bang model of the universe is a theory brimming with difficulties – I mean difficulties beyond the obvious, “where did all the matter come from” and “what caused it to begin expanding.” The problems I'm talking about are a little less obvious but still very substantial. Please note too that these aren't my objections to the theory. These are objections raised by secular scientists and discussed in this Wiki article.

The Horizon Problem: If we looked toward the eastern sky, we could see galaxies that are estimated to be 10 billion light years away. We could see the same thing in the western sky. So if one galaxy is 10 billion light years away in one direction and another is 10 billion light years in the other, then they would be 20 billion light years apart from each other. Are you with me so far? OK. Now, secular scientists date the universe to be around 13.8 billion years old. Assuming that is true, the light from the “eastern” most region of space has not had enough time to reach the “western” region. Even though we can see both ends, they should not be able to see each other because their light could not have traveled the 20 billion light years of distance between them in only 13.8 billion years. Are you still with me? OK. Here is the problem: everywhere we look, the universe appears to be homogenous.

If I dropped an ice cube into hot water, the cube would melt and the water would cool a little. Eventually, it all becomes the same temperature. That's homogeneity and it always happens eventually once the two things begin to interact. It seems to have already happened in the cosmos. The cosmic background microwave radiation, for example is the nearly the same everywhere we look. But how could the entire universe have evened out so uniformly if all the regions have not had enough time to interact?

The Flatness Problem: Matter produces gravity. Objects in motion have kinetic energy. When the supposed Big Bang happened, matter began to expand. Once the expansion began, kinetic energy would have carried the matter forward while gravity would have been slowing the expansion. Let me see if I can explain it in lay terms.

If the rate of expansion were too slow, gravity would have quickly pulled everything back into a Big Crunch. If the expansion were too rapid, the matter would have accelerated too quickly for stars to form. From the very beginning there must have been a perfect balance, a “fine tuning,” between the expansion and the slowing or else the universe could not exist as it is now. The precise balance of 1 is represented by the value Ω. The margin is so narrow as to be incredible. This illustration helps visualize a too fast or too slow expansion.

Missing Magnetic-monopoles: The Big Bang would have been a hot event, or so I'm told. Such an event should have produced magnetic-monopoles (a magnet with only one pole). Now, I confess the physics behind this prediction is a little beyond my understanding. Monopoles themselves sound a little “exotic” to me and when we consider that we've never observed such a thing, I'm not sure why anyone would predict there should be many of them. But the fact that there haven't been any found sure has cosmologists concerned. Failed predictions are usually evidence against a theory and the fact that the Big Bang predicts magnetic-monopoles yet none have been found should raise more than a few eyebrows. Nevertheless, scientists confidently stand by their model and seek a new theory that explains this lack of evidence!

Enter now Inflation cosmology! To help smooth out some of these serious difficulties in the Big Bang model, it was suggested in the 1980s that in the very early seconds after the initial expansion, the universe when through short period of hyper-expansion where it figuratively exploded from about the size of a grape to trillions of miles across in just a fraction of a second. They say such an event would solve a few difficulties.

First, they suppose that the homogeneity we observe occurred prior to the hyper-expansion, while all of space was still close together. When inflation occurred, it carried the homogeneity out with it.

Concerning the flatness problem, the inflation supposedly forced the value of Ω to that fine-tuned balance of 1. One web site compares it to a how a balloon smooths out as it inflates. I'm not sure how well the analogy describes the solution but, as the article says, most cosmologists are satisfied with it.

Lastly, cosmologists use inflation to solve the missing magnetic-monopoles problem. According to them, inflation was not only a rapid event, it was a cooled event. That is, as the inflation began, the super hot Big Bang cooled during the inflation epoch by about 100,000 times to just under the temperature where the monopoles would form. How convenient.

So what is the evidence for all of this? We'll, it's pretty much like the evidence for Oort cloud – they simply need it for their theory to be viable. It's a sort of fudge factor to get around some of the serious difficulties they know exist with the Big Bang. What caused inflation? They don't know. What stopped the inflation? They don't know. Why was it cool? They don't know. How did it reheat? They don't know. Actually, the idea of inflation is even less credible than the Oort cloud. In the case of the Oort cloud, at least we know that icy bodies exist in the universe. We've never seen an event like the inflation epoch and there's nothing in physics that would otherwise suggest such an event could or should occur.

I think scientists have become numb to what's credible. After all, once you accept the idea that all the universe could literally poof into existence out of nothing, then why couldn't there also be an imaginary event like inflation that immediately followed it? Once again, this isn't a case of going where the evidence leads. They know the Big Bang happened in spite of all its difficulties. Even the most serious problems with the theory could never cause them to even question it. Rather, it would only spur them to become more and more creative in explaining how it happened regardless. How could the Big Bang ever be disproved if scientists are allowed to invent exotic theories to explain away any objection?


Steven J. said...

The Big Bang is the idea that the universe has expanded from an initial very hot, very dense, very small, very ordered state to its present much cooler, rarified, immense, more entropic state. It is supported by three main lines of evidence: the distribution of galactic redshifts, the relative cosmic abundances of hydrogen and helium, and the cosmic microwave background (the last being discovered only after it was predicted by the Big Bang theory). So the theory itself is on pretty solid ground, and cosmologists tend to deal with problems by tinkering with it rather than rejecting it outright, since rival accounts do not explain or predict these phenomena (nor do they explain or predict cosmic flatness or homogeneity).

Note that these are not ideas that cosmologists simply make up; they are based on extremely complex but well-supported ideas in physics. Granted, well-supported physics can lead to some very weird implications: one explanation for where the matter and energy in the universe came from is that it's all basically a vast accounting trick: inflation creates an immense "negative energy" (as in, "less than zero energy"), which can only be countered (as demanded by the first law of thermodynamics) by the appearance of an equal amount of positive energy. Seriously. The math works and it's completely consistent with current physics.

Inflation is a much smaller "epicycle" in current theories than would be anything that could reconcile, e.g. the fact that we can see colliding galaxies (collisions that would take millions of years to occur) half a billion light years away from us, with the idea that the universe and Earth are really only ca. 6000 years old.

Note that there are cyclic Big Bang theories that do away with the need for inflation, e.g. Steinhardt's and Turok's "ekpyrotic theory." I suspect, though, that you would not favor replacing a 13.8 billion-year-old universe with one that might be infinitely old, especially if the current iteration would still be many billions of years old. Likewise, eliminating the Big Bang entirely in favor of an infinitely old steady-state universe would not, I suspect, satisfy you even a little bit.

Here's the thing: a six thousand year old universe is no longer on the table. In its simplest form, such a model makes many easily testable predictions, every single one of which turns out to be wrong. In its more elaborate forms, it invokes epicycles on a near-hysterical scale: light moves at different velocities in different directions! Time moves at different rates in different parts of the universe! When we "see" stars in distant galaxies, we're seeing light that was created in transit, not emitted by actual stars! There's no tiniest reason to suppose any of these things are true, except for the need to deny the obvious vast antiquity of the universe, and none of them have any solid basis in actual physics, as, e.g. inflation (never mind the Oort Cloud) have.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

As I've said before, I might think secular cosmologists are foolish but I don't think they're stupid. Of course the Big Bang should seem to have a certain amount of explanatory power or else it could not survive as a theory at all. If it didn't seem at least reasonable, who would believe? Yet no matter how much it might seem to explain, the theory is still false so I will continue pointing out its flaws.

You have asked if I would prefer a cycle of bang-crunch-bang-crunch or an infinitely old, steady universe. Of course not. Those theories are false as well. I prefer the truth. I may not understand everything about a recent creation but I at least know it's true.

Your criticisms highlighting the distant starlight problem of a recent creation are a little misleading. You seem to be saying that creationists are claiming all of these things are true. They are actually different attempts to solve same problem so no one has ever suggested they're all true. The light in transit solution is usually the “obvious” solution offered by lay persons who don't understand the difficulties with that solution. I think the speed of light may have been different in the past but I don't think a faster speed of light alone can solve the problem.

I do have to shake my head when you dismissively say, “Time moves at different rates in different parts of the universe!” as though it's not true. I know you know better than this. Time is absolutely relative to the observer and is known to pass at different rates in different places. We have observed this phenomenon on earth and it has been talked about extensively since Einstein. Perhaps it's a question of dibs like I wrote about earlier – time being relative is a fact owned by evolutionists and creationists are allowed to use it in their theories!

By the way, “it could work” is not sufficient evidence that it did happen. There's really no evidence for inflation beyond the need for it. I noticed again that you've omitted any affirmative argument for the theory and have merely resorted to a “you do it too” response.

Thank you for your comments anyway. God bless!!


Steven J. said...

Time is known to pass more slowly in, e.g. extremely high gravitational fields; that is not a reason to suppose that it passes faster in the Whirlpool Galaxy (if it did, astronomers would presumably notice, e.g. the galaxy rotating on its axis at seemingly absurd speeds). And yes, I know that different creationists have proposed different ideas for reconciling a young universe with our ability to see distant galaxies; some of these (e.g. time moving faster in distant galaxies) contradict the data, while others merely recall completely re-writing the laws of physics into insanely complicated new forms to reconcile, e.g. E=mc^2 to a lightspeed that changes over time.

You "know" that the Earth (and presumably a few hundred billion galaxies) were created a few thousand years ago, just as Martin Luther and John Calvin "knew" that the sun orbited the Earth -- the plain sense of the Bible said so. As Luther noted, Joshua 10 says that the sun, not the Earth, stood still at Joshua's command. Indeed, prior to the 17th century (and compromises in the interpretation of the Bible to accomodate fallible human scientific reasoning), the view that the "six days of creation" were long periods (well, semi-long -- thousand year "days" were proposed by several commentators) was much more common than the view that the Earth might rotate on its axis (notwithstanding biblical verses that spoke of it being established and immobile) and orbit the sun. There has not been since the abandonment of flat-earthism by Christians in the fourth century a reading of Genesis entirely unmodified to accomodate scientific findings and reasoning.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

You're deflecting. My post is about the inflation model of the Big Bang and all you seem interested in talking about are the “exotic” models you see in creationism. It's not a bad strategy, I suppose, considering that the alternative is to stand by the ridiculous-sounding idea of inflation for which the only evidence is a need for it to have happened. We can all see through your lack of an argument.

But since you are harping on the distant starlight problem that exists in the recent creation model, could you at least acknowledge its similarity to the Horizon problem that exists in your model? There has not been enough time for the distant parts of the universe to interact with each other yet they have still already reached equilibrium. Can you not see how similar that is to the idea that the light from distant stars has not had enough time to reach us in only 6,000 years? I don't see you chucking your theory over the time/distance problem yet you bludgeon me about it like it's de facto proof against mine!

Obviously there is something else going on that we haven't quite figured out. Various solutions have been offered. Your side has suggested inflation – a strange sounding notion that has never been observed. One solution offered by my side is that “time” is experienced differently in different places – a phenomenon that has been observed.

We know that time is affected by gravity and the greater the gravity, the greater the time dilation. It need not be “extremely high” as you have suggested. We know that time ticks by at a different pace on a mountain than at sea level. Remember too that objects traveling near the speed of light experience time differently than stationary objects. If our solar system is in the center of the universe (i.e. the center of all matter), then the time dilation here would be greater here than in the galaxies near the edge of the universe. Early in the creation, when all matter was closer together, “billions of years” could pass in space while only “days” have passed on earth. So “time” is a subjective term that varies according to where it is experienced. Because it is subjective, there may not even be a “time” problem.

Thanks for your comments. God bless!!


Steven J. said...

Invoking the fact that time passes more slowly in high gravity fields to support the idea that it moves faster in distant galaxies, is a bit like explaining why the Sahara is so dry by suggesting that it gets more rain than wetter areas. You have an explanation that, to be sure, invokes a known phenomenon, but does so in a way that violates the observed laws of physics, which is inferior to an explanation that does not.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

You just can't let this go, can you? Is your best response to my criticism of the Inflation model only to say, “You do it too?” Sigh. Also, by your silence, you have refused to acknowledge that a similar time/distance problem exists in both theories. There has to be some other mechanism in play that could apply to either theory. Simply attacking my solution doesn't necessarily help yours.

Your comment, “You have an explanation that, to be sure, invokes a known phenomenon, but does so in a way that violates the observed laws of physics” makes no sense. How can an observed phenomenon violate the laws of physics? That's sort of like saying bumble bees can't fly because physics says their small wings can't beat fast enough to support their weight.

We know time is relative. We know that objects traveling near the speed of light experience time differently than stationary objects. I ALSO KNOW YOU KNOW ALL THIS. Can you say – with a straight face and at the risk of your reputation – that you are absolutely positive that clocks at the edge of the universe (assuming there is an edge) would be ticking at exactly the same rate as clocks on earth?

I'm not saying that time dilation is THE solution to the distant starlight problem but I do know a solution exists. Time dilation should at least be part of the discussion. I don't know why you pretend it's a non-factor. Actually, I know why.

God bless!!