Home » Cosmology, News » Halton Arp, hero to both YECs and anti-Big Bangers, passes away

Halton Arp, hero to both YECs and anti-Big Bangers, passes away

The Big Bang is both beloved and despised among members of ID’s big tent. William Lane Craig, Guillermo Gonzalez, etc. favor the Big Bang. But the YECs in ID’s big tent despise the Big Bang because it disagrees with YEC. Thus the YECs have formed a rather strange alliance with certain ID-haters who despise the Big Bang because of the Big Bang’s quasi-theistic implications.

If the YECs succeed in solving the distant starlight problem and falsify the Big Bang’s chronology, then that will favor ID, but if the Big Bang is falsified in favor of an eternal universe, that will be unfavorable to ID since ID proponents might have to reject the Universal Probability Bound that is the core of many ID arguments. So Arp’s work against the Big Bang is a two-edged sword depending on how the Big Bang is potentially falsified. Nevertheless, some in ID’s big tent (the YECs) love Arp’s work.

Halton Christian “Chip” Arp (1927-2013) passed away December 28, 2013.

From Arp’s Website:

Short biography for Halton C. Arp

Halton C. Arp received his Bachelors degree from Harvard College in 1949 and his Ph.D. from California Institute of Technology in 1953, both cum laude. He is a professional astronomer who, earlier in his career, conducted Edwin Hubble’s nova search in M31. He has earned the Helen B.Warner prize, the Newcomb Cleveland award and the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award. For 28 years he was staff astronomer at the Mt. Palomar and Mt. Wilson observatories. While there, he produced his well known catalog of “Peculiar Galaxies” that are disturbed or irregular in appearance.

Arp discovered, from photographs and spectra with the big telescopes, that many pairs of quasars (“quasi-stellar objects”) which have extremely high redshift z values (and are therefore thought to be receding from us very rapidly – and thus must be located at a great distance from us) are physically connected to galaxies that have low redshift and are known to be relatively close by. Because of Arp’s observations, the assumption that high red shift objects have to be very far away – on which the “Big Bang” theory and all of “accepted cosmology” is based – has to be fundamentally reexamined.!

YEC physicist John Hartnett offers a favorable review of Arp’s work HERE.

HT: tjguy

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27 Responses to Halton Arp, hero to both YECs and anti-Big Bangers, passes away

  1. The Holiday Bowl looks like a runaway for Texas Tech right now, so thought I’d check in at UD and see what is going on. :)

    —–

    Sal, interesting thought about having to reject the UPB in an eternal universe.

    I wouldn’t overstate it, however.

    The UPB is helpful for putting a timeframe on certain events, like, for example, the formation of the first self-replicating system. However, the same concept is also completely relevant to subsequent events in the development of life. For example, the development of multicellular structures, organs, etc. all require resources well beyond those available in the known universe (mass and space). And these developmental aspects can also be pinned down to have occurred here on the Earth within a particular timeframe (x millions of years, for example).

    So even if the universe were eternal, there are many biological particulars that occurred within a specific timeframe on the Earth.

    So perhaps a different term could be used than UPB, but the same principle would still be relevant.

    —-

    Well, maybe I spoke too soon. Arizona State just scored after a recovered punt . . .

  2. Go Raiders

  3. Well, I’m far from being a YEC but I’m no Big Banger either. I see no reason to suppose that a refutation of the Big Bang necessarily implies an eternal universe. In fact, I believe the alternative will require both a beginning and an end. I’m sure there’ll be others, don’t worry. Besides this one has many trillions of years left in its life. :)

    I just think that the primary reason given to support the expanding universe hypothesis (the red-shifting of light from distant galaxies), is a misinterpretation of the evidence based on an erroneous and incomplete understanding of the nature of motion. I think that physicists should first try to understand the true nature of motion (why things move) before assuming that they know enough to even speculate about the provenance or fate of the universe.

  4. Sal, just to follow up, in summary I would say the rational view of the Big Bang as it relates to ID (rational, of course, because it is my view :)), is the following: it isn’t that relevant to the basic claims of ID.

    I have personally become a bit skeptical of the Big Bang in recent years, but I don’t have a definitive view yet and don’t feel strongly about it. However, I can say that however the Big Bang debate shakes out it won’t significantly impact ID.

    As a result, I would caution those who are tempted to lean on the Big Bang as some kind of confirmation of or support for ID. The Big Bang isn’t needed for the central claims of ID; and if the Big Bang turns out to be wrong one will end up with egg on one’s face.

    It is better (both logically and practically) to not hitch one’s ID cart to that Big Bang horse.

  5. I get so excited about physics that I forget my manners. Shame on me.

    My condolences to the family and acquaintances of Professor Halton C. Arp. Courageous and great man.

  6. Eric Anderson”

    Sal, just to follow up, in summary I would say the rational view of the Big Bang as it relates to ID (rational, of course, because it is my view :)), is the following: it isn’t that relevant to the basic claims of ID.

    I have to disagree with this view. Proving experimentally and logically that the universe must have been carefully and intelligently designed and then created would be an unprecedented and tremendous win for the ID side. The conclusion that the same could have happen to life on earth would no longer seem unbelievable or unacceptable to so many.

    Of course, none of this will ever see the light of day in our lifetimes unless someone comes up with something really big that knocks everyone’s socks off, scientists and laymen alike.

  7. If the universe had no beginning, but rather an infinite past, then how does the present day being the end of an infinite timeline make sense?

  8. i.e. Isn’t it pretty much by definition an impossibility to transit an infinite anything…including time?

  9. JGuy, you’re absolutely correct. Infinity is nonsense.

  10. Infinity is nonsense.

    cantor here. I resemble that remark.

  11. 11

    “Infinity” is the principle sign that human reason is limited and will run into a logical brick wall no matter what philosophy you hold. Infinity = nonsense.

    Reality (capital R) – the one responsible for spacetime – the one of which your consciousness is a part of – is utterly different than anything we can imagine with brain-based thinking. Utterly. It’s a waste of time to try.

  12. I think it’s amazing and absurd the way scientific questions are so often treated as ideology, with subjective opinions rampant. Intelligence should be left alone without interference from subjectivisms–biases, preferences of any kind, without wanting one side to “win,” without hoping that one idea or another turns out to be false or true. A lover of truth is impartial, disinterested, qualities that are almost absent these days.

  13. From Hartnett’s article:

    Arp (and others) have gone on to contend that the quasars have been ejected from the hearts of their parent galaxies. In 2012 Fulton and Arp in a study of tens of thousands of galaxies and quasars tested for the physical association of candidate companion quasars with putative parent galaxies and found an extremely high statistical correlation (> 50 sigma) when the ejection hypothesis and Karlsson periodicity in quasar redshifts are included.

    and from van Flandern

    (5) The average luminosity of quasars must decrease with time in just the right way so that their average apparent brightness is the same at all redshifts, which is exceedingly unlikely.

    According to the Big Bang theory, a quasar at a redshift of 1 is roughly ten times as far away as one at a redshift of 0.1. (The redshift-distance relation is not quite linear, but this is a fair approximation.) If the two quasars were intrinsically similar, the high redshift one would be about 100 times fainter because of the inverse square law. But it is, on average, of comparable apparent brightness. This must be explained as quasars “evolving” their intrinsic properties so that they get smaller and fainter as the universe evolves. That way, the quasar at redshift 1 can be intrinsically 100 times brighter than the one at 0.1, explaining why they appear (on average) to be comparably bright. It isn’t as if the Big Bang has a reason why quasars should evolve in just this magical way. But that is required to explain the observations using the Big Bang interpretation of the redshift of quasars as a measure of cosmological distance.

    http://metaresearch.org/cosmology/BB-top-30.asp

    Actually van Flandern may understate the severity of the problem since it’s not just an inverse square law but maybe an inverse 4th law according to Tolman. Whatver, its a serious problem, imho. Personally, I think what van Flandern points out is pretty devastating.

    Oh, that’s another tribute I forgot to mention. van Flandern, like Arp is also a bit of an unwitting YEC hero. van Flandern passed away recently.

  14. Even one of my well-known professors, cosmologist James Trefil expressed some reservation about the Big Bang and published some of the whisperings of doubt he heard at cosmology conferences he was a part of in his book The Dark Side of the Universe.

    Menas Kafatos a PhD from MIT was chair of the Center of Earth and Space Observation at my undergraduate alma mater. He along with Arp signed this cosmology statement.
    http://www.cosmologystatement.org/

    (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-centered 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 hypothesize 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 inquiry.

    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.

  15. Kwatson,

    I don’t recall meeting you before. In any case, welcome to Uncommon Descent.

    Sal

  16. scordova quoting Kafatos and Arp:

    To avoid bias, the peer review committee that allocates such funds could be composed of astronomers and physicists from outside the field of cosmology.

    Peer review and good old dogmatism strike their ugly heads, once again. But peer pressure and dogmatism are not restricted to the scientific community. They are also an old tradition in religious circles. It’s a part of human nature, characterised by an insidious lack of honor in our species. We pay a heavy price for it.

    The Big Bang hypothesis is like the Darwinian theory of evolution. Neither has a leg to stand on but they survive by being propped up by die-hard dogmatists who would be sidelined into oblivion if their cherished theories were falsified.

  17. From cosmologystatement, the one very problematic paragraph in an otherwise good statement:

    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 hypothesize an evolving universe without beginning or end. These and other alternative approaches can also explain the basic phenomena of the cosmos,

    Too bad Arp singed on to this claim. Eternal universe isn’t consistent with standard thermodynamics, so the Big Bang is at least better in that regard. My view, the eternal universe is falsified by basic thermodynamics (1st and 2nd law), the Big Bang is likely falsified by the various problems outlined in this discussion.

    We’re kind of stuck in that we really don’t know much about anything. Rich on speculation, poor on actual data. But let me offer my speculation, whatever turns out to be true will likely be extremely ID friendly. The Designer ordained it to be that way. :wink:

  18. scordova @17,

    People like Arp have to sign on to the claim that the universe has no beginning and end because their steady state model cannot provide a naturalistic reason for a beginning. But, as you say, the laws of thermodynamics kill that idea dead before it can even sprout.

    I think we are logically forced to accept a steady state model with an unknown beginning, even if we have not provided any evidence for that beginning. Not yet, anyway. I’m leaning toward the view that the beginning consisted of many mini-bangs that created the galaxies and the stars throughout the universe.

  19. What I appreciated in Halton Arp’s book, Seeing Red, was his steadfast commitment to the data.

    Among other things, his data seemed to show that a significant number of galaxies were lozenge-shaped and pointed toward the Earth, which he called “the fingers of God” to annoy his colleagues, I think.

    Apparently, no one thought that a lot of galaxies pointing to the Earth was particularly odd, but Dr. Arp had the audacity to conclude that the galaxies were actually spherical and that the red-shifted distance calculations were off. For this blasphemy against the consensus, he earned the ire of the Scientific Establishment resulting in his professional crucifixion.

    Some things never change.

    -Q

  20. Querius,

    Yes, indeed. For the reader’s benefit from Arp’s website:

    What do they think this cluster is? In fact they are forced to say it is a structure that I would compare to a great sausage stretching out from us toward the outer reaches of the Universe. The miraculous aspect is that this sausage is pointing directly at us, the observer.

    But perhaps an even stranger aspect is that the far end would be receding from us at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. Quick, the mustard!

    These cluster elongations toward the observer have been noticed in other regions of the sky and, causing some inquietude, been dubbed “Fingers of God”. The reason for unease is obvious. The fingers are pointing to the conclusion that we live in some special place in the Universe. Very anti-Copernican.

    http://www.haltonarp.com/artic.....g_universe

    :wink:

  21. I think there is something about a steady state universe that scares the hell out of atheists. They cannot allow it because, in order to avoid the obvious logical problems with an eternal universe, they would have to accept a beginning and a creation event. They cannot let that happen. It would be a complete surrender to their ideological enemies. That would be too much for them to bear. So we should not hope to see a lot of progress on this front in the near future. Just the same old BS.

    It’s sad that we are so morally weak that we would rather believe in a lie and teach others to do the same rather than change our positions in the face of refuting evidence. The politicization of science is despicable.

  22. What a brave and brilliant scientist! An oddity within a corrupt elitist society. I think I should make some time to study his work in more detail.

    Question: What was Dr. Arp’s explanation for the redshift phenomenon?

  23. Question: What was Dr. Arp’s explanation for the redshift phenomenon?

    Some sort of intrinsic shift from the radiating body itself instead of expanding space.

    There is so much we don’t know about the universe. We’re extrapolating our tiny sample size of measurements to universal and almost eternal scale. It’s an educated guess, but still a guess made on skimpy data.

  24. Thanks for you comment Querius. I’d forgotten about the Fingers of God. Given that they are always pointed at me, you’d think I’d remember! :-)

    I highlighted it here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ng-at-you/

  25. Here is an even better explanation than what Dr. Hartnett provided of Arp’s work:

    http://www.thunderbolts.info/t.....galaxy.htm

    Oct 01, 2004
    Quasar in Front of Galaxy

    October 3, 2003: the big bang was proved wrong. Again. And here is the proof (image above). The galaxy, NGC 7319, is a Seyfert 2, which means it is a galaxy shrouded with such heavy dust clouds that they obscure most of the bright, active nucleus that defines a normal Seyfert galaxy. This galaxy has a redshift of 0.0225. The tiny white spot is a quasar either silhouetted in front of the opaque gas clouds or embedded in the topmost layers of the dust. The redshift of the quasar is 2.114.

    Why does this prove the big bang wrong? One of the two major foundations of the big bang is that redshift is proportional to distance. That means the larger the redshift of an object, the farther away it must be. The other major foundation of the big bang is that all redshift is a measure of velocity. Again, the larger the redshift of an object, the faster it is moving away from us. Combined, these two foundations become the expanding universe, which can be traced backwards to the big bang.

    Look at the picture again. By the big bang principles, this quasar must be billions of light years farther from us than the galaxy, because its redshift is so much larger. And yet the galaxy is opaque, so the quasar must be near the surface of the dust clouds or even in front of them.

    Pasquale Galianni, Margaret Burbidge, Halton Arp, V. Junkkarinen, Geoffrey Burbidge, and Stefano Zibetti, the astronomers who wrote the paper describing this discovery, also studied the dust clouds surrounding the quasar. There’s a bright triangular jet (see insert above) with its fat end on the galaxy nucleus and thin end pointing at the quasar. Radio, x-ray and spectra observations show that this area is disturbed. These gasses are more turbulent than the gasses in other regions of the galaxy. That seems to indicate that something big and powerful has passed through, moving outward from the nucleus. In addition to the jet, the region of the galaxy near the quasar is glowing with an excess of low-density emission lines from ionized gasses. But nothing is “there” to light them up except the impossible quasar.

    This is not the first definitive disproof of the redshift = distance principle, although it may be the best to date. Halton Arp has been accumulating discordant redshift evidence since the late 1960′s. His most recent tactic has been to look at the objects called ULX’s (the quasar above is one of them). ULX stands for Ultra Luminous X-ray sources, which are tiny concentrations of x-rays in or very near an active galaxy. The x-ray concentration is stronger than any known astronomical object, even a supernova, can produce. Over the last two years, Arp has shown that at least 20 of these objects are quasars, with redshifts much higher than the galaxy they are associated with. The example seen above is the closest pair of the 20.

    About the new observations, one cosmologist said, “If astronomy were a science, this paper would mean the end of the big bang.” Instead, the paper was scarcely noted when it was presented to the American Astronomical Society meeting in January 2004. When submitted to an astronomical journal, heavy editing was recommended by the peer review committee. And now it sits with the editor, awaiting permission for publication. And waiting. And waiting.

  26. To better understand why there was no Big Bang, please go to Jerrold Thacker’s page:

    http://www.deceptiveuniverse.com/

    and, if possible, buy his book: Reinventing the Universe (only $2.99):

    http://amzn.to/KkAh1q

    He mentions Halton “Chip” Arp and other astronomers who have been discriminated and, in some cases, fired (like ID scientists) for their new theories about the red shift, that make the Big Bang look like the Darwin’s evolution theory: Absurd and obsolete.

  27. Mapou:

    I have to disagree with this view. Proving experimentally and logically that the universe must have been carefully and intelligently designed and then created would be an unprecedented and tremendous win for the ID side. The conclusion that the same could have happen to life on earth would no longer seem unbelievable or unacceptable to so many.

    So if there was a Big Bang, then the universe can’t have been designed? Or are you saying that if there wasn’t a Big Bang, then the universe can’t have been designed?

    Think through it carefully, and I believe you’ll see that the existence of a particular explosive event is not central to the question of whether the universe was designed. And those who see design in the universe certainly shouldn’t hitch their entire argument to the Big Bang.

    As for implications to people’s views of biology, I am much less optimistic. The evidence of design is already very clear in biology, yet it still hasn’t swayed the committed materialist. Evidence in cosmology isn’t going to either. To wit, the multiverse — which was proposed precisely to avoid the uncomfortable evidence that has already been accumulated that there is design in the cosmos.

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