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Dark Energy: Another Sequel

Cosmological BubbleThe NSF has been taking polls of students for decades, asking whether they believed in Evolution and The Big Bang. They dropped that question this year, because it was getting too many “false negatives”, people who were well-educated but didn’t believe in one or the other. This drives some science educators nuts, who want naturalism and science to be equated to each other. The reluctance to buy into evolution is well-documented, but perhaps you are a bit fuzzy about the Big Bang reluctance. A news item this week reveals just how uncertain these cosmology theories are, but don’t tell that to the NSF.

Here’s the scoop on the Big Bang. Back when Einstein was alive, he wanted his field equations to reveal a steady state universe. This is simply because there are two answers to “Why are we here?” and he didn’t like the “Because there is a Creator” answer, so he opted for the “There is neither beginning nor end” answer formulated by Epicurus and Democritus some 2500 years ago.

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25 Responses to Dark Energy: Another Sequel

  1. Dr. Hugh Ross holds that the evidence for Dark Energy is very strong;

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Dark Energy – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218/

  2. I think it is very interesting how they have gone from the term “Dark Matter” to “Dark Energy”. It reminds me of how they went from the term “global warming” to “climate change.” While I sincerely always doubted that the mysteries in physics could be reduced to, and explained, by appealing to some “dark matter” floating around out there somewhere, on the other hand I have no doubt that there could be energy, or energies, that exist and defy being captured by light. It is certainly possibe, if not likely that there could exist a certain kind of enrgy that is unlike any other kind that we know of today. However, it might not be interchangable with matter at all, and thus “dark matter” would have only a very limited role in such a theory regarding dark energy…

  3. Not so fast …

    Einstein knew that in a finite Universe with attractive gravity, the Universe had to be either expanding or contracting.

    He thought that it was neither, that it was staying the same size, so he added his fudge factor, the cosmological constant, to balance gravity.

    And then Hubble discovered that the Universe was expanding, removing the need for the fudge factor.

    Newton did a similar thing in postulating an infinite Universe, wrongly assuming that this avoided a collapsing Universe, because in an infinite Universe there’s no centre on which to collapse.

    No theist has ever criticized Newton, regarding him as one of their own.

    Dark Energy had to be added in the 1990s because it was found that not only is the Universe expanding, the rate of expansion is accelerating.

    Actually, the term Big Bang is a bad term. It’s not matter that’s involved, flying apart as in an enormous explosion. It’s space that’s expanding, carrying matter along with it.

  4. 4

    “Back when Einstein was alive, he wanted his field equations to reveal a steady state universe.”

    He had the math for general relatively, in general, relatively early in his quest. He ignored it, and trudged on, (as much of the history suggests), because of the philosophical implications related to t=0. He also had the cosmological constant, (lambda) correctly buried in his equations. Subsequently set to zero but is now a high positive value.

    Most people do not know the history of the big bang. That it was a catholic priest/physicist who first proposed it. That mainstream science viscerally rejected it. And the Catholic church adopted it stating it was in accordance with genesis 1:1.

    “In the 1920s and 1930s almost every major cosmologist preferred an eternal steady state Universe, and several complained that the beginning of time implied by the Big Bang imported religious concepts into physics; this objection was later repeated by supporters of the steady state theory.[81] This perception was enhanced by the fact that the originator of the Big Bang theory, Monsignor Georges Lemaître, was a Roman Catholic priest.[82] Pope Pius XII declared, at the November 22, 1951 opening meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, that the Big Bang theory accorded with the Catholic concept of creation.[83] Conservative Protestant Christian denominations have also welcomed the Big Bang theory as supporting a historical interpretation of the doctrine of creation.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bang

  5. It’s not matter that’s involved, flying apart as in an enormous explosion. It’s space that’s expanding, carrying matter along with it.

    How? What is it that connects matter to space such that when space expands it carries matter along with it?

  6. Mung,

    Go and read a cosmology book. It will explain why it is that space is expanding. At the cosmic horizon, currently 13.7 billion light years from the Milky Way Galaxy, space is expanding faster than the speed of light so it’s impossible, ever, to see what’s happening beyond. Speed of expansion is proportional to distance, so the space between us and the Andromeda Galaxy, about 2.5 million light years, is expanding slower than gravity is causing the Andromeda Galaxy to approach us, so that in a few billion years the two galaxies will collide (I strongly suspect I won’t be around to see it).

  7. 7
    Elizabeth Liddle

    It is also worth noting that the expansion of space places each observation point (e.g. earth) at the centre of its own observable universe.

    When we look out, far enough, we see the origins of the universe (remnants of Big Bang) equidistant in all directions.

    That is true wherever you stand in the universe.

    Geocentricity is universally true :)

  8. And then Hubble discovered that the Universe was expanding

    “… even up to his final lecture before the Royal Society, [Hubble] always held open the possibility that the redshift did not mean velocity of recession but might be caused by something else.”

    Seeing Red: Redshifts, Cosmology and Academic Science, Halton Arp, Apeiron, Montreal, 1998, p4

  9. Go and read a cosmology book. It will explain why it is that space is expanding.

    I did not question whether space was expanding nor did I ask why it was expanding.

    You go read. My post. Again.

    My question was about matter.

  10. OK Mung,

    I reread your comment.

    The partial answer is that everything is expanding, the Universe, galaxy clusters, galaxies, solar systems, the Sun, the Earth, me (well, actually, I’m also adding mass in addition to expanding, but that says more about my personal habits…), atoms ….

    The larger the object, the larger the absolute expansion, although relative to size, they’re all constant.

    Think about putting dots on the surface of a deflated balloon. As you inflate the balloon, the distance between the dots become large, but the size of the dots also becomes larger.

    Early in the history of the Universe, it expanded at an enormous rate, faster than the speed of light, due to an inflaton field, which isn’t just made up for a story. It’s necessary to explain why, no matter where you look in the Universe, everything looks the same, the temperature of the cosmic background radiation of 2.74K, the afterglow of the Big Bang, is the same in all directions within 0.0001K, so the Universe had to have started small, expanded at a slow rate (far less than the speed of light) and came to a uniform structure, and then suddenly began inflating at an enormous rate.

    Dark energy is necessary to explain why the rate of expansion 13.7 billion years later, is accelerating.

    Eventually, the Universe will have expanded so much, in a 100 billion years or so, all that will be seen from the Milky Way (plus whatever other galaxies it’s absorbed) will be the local galaxy cluster.

    Even atoms someday will be ripped apart owing to the expansion of space.

    It’s difficult to appreciate the beauty of this picture because of the huge sizes and ages. One Christian when I asked her why God created a Universe so huge and old just for us, the solar system and a few thousand surrounding stars would have been ample, answered that that would have been ‘a lame Creation’. If that’s an adequate answer for you …

  11. 11

    Mung: “My question was about matter.”

    From the jump, no one actually knows why there is matter rather than no matter in the first place. The question of why matter won the day is a mystery.

    Most recent attempt to figure it out:

    “We know when the universe formed from the Big Bang, it had just as much matter as antimatter,” Stone says. “But we live in a world predominantly made of matter, therefore, there had to be differences in the decaying of both matter and antimatter in order to end up with a surplus of matter.”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....101306.htm

  12. Junkdnaforlife,

    Actually, you don’t understand the aricle you link to. The question being addressed is why there is matter and not antimatter. Not why there is matter and not ‘no matter’. There should have been equal amounts of the two, but for some reason, there was a very slight excess of matter over antimatter.

    Antimatter is as real as normal matter. Antielectrons (positively charged positrons) occur in our world. I heard somewhere that some of the gamma ray bursts detected on Earth don’t actually come from distant supernovae, but actually are produced in electric lightning storms generating positrons which then annihilate themselves with electrons in a burst of energy.

  13. backfiend:

    Antimatter is as real as normal matter.

    Is space also carrying antimatter along with it as it [space] expands?

    How? What is it that connects antimatter to space such that when space expands it carries antimatter along with it?

  14. And yet, there is no space, nor time, where/when there is no matter.

  15. 15

    “There should have been equal amounts of the two, but for some reason, there was a very slight excess of matter over antimatter.”

    no matter anti-matter, correct.

    It is the “for some reason” that I was getting at. Why anti-matter decay rates differ from matter is the question.

  16. 16

    This was the point (wiki):

    “At this time, the apparent asymmetry of matter and antimatter in the visible universe is one of the greatest unsolved problems in physics. The process by which this asymmetry between particles and antiparticles developed is called baryogenesis.

  17. Mung,

    I’m beginning to think you’re rather dim. OK, pretend that matter is fastened to space by very tiny pins inserted by countless numbers of angels.

    Junkdnaforlife,

    The cause of the imbalance between matter and antimatter might be an unanswered question, but that’s what science does. It looks for unsolved problems and tries to solve them.

    ID on the other hand looks for problems that it can plausibly, perhaps, at a stretch, claim are unsolved, will never be solved, and declares that it must be due to a … they never say, what, instead leaving the implication that it’s God.

    And then they try to muddy the waters by claiming that science can be settled by a general popularity survey, as if evolutionary biology or Big Bang cosmology can be rejected by a poll of the ignorant.

  18. Hubble Constant: A New Way to Measure the Expansion of the Universe – July 27, 2011
    Excerpt: “This way of determining the Hubble constant is as direct and precise as other methods, and provides an independent verification of them,” says Professor Matthew Colless, Director of the Australian Astronomical Observatory and one of Mr Beutler’s co-authors. “The new measurement agrees well with previous ones, and provides a strong check on previous work.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....101719.htm

  19. 19
    Elizabeth Liddle

    bachfiend:

    Antimatter is as real as normal matter. Antielectrons (positively charged positrons) occur in our world. I heard somewhere that some of the gamma ray bursts detected on Earth don’t actually come from distant supernovae, but actually are produced in electric lightning storms generating positrons which then annihilate themselves with electrons in a burst of energy.

    Not to mention PET scanners :)

  20. 20

    bachfiend: “as if evolutionary biology or Big Bang cosmology can be rejected by a poll of the ignorant.”

    I, a Catholic, fully support big bang cosmology, as does the Catholic Church as my post @ 4 illustrates. As did the Catholic Priest who first proposed the idea of the big bang as my post @ 4 illustrates. It was actually the scientific community at large who rejected big bang cosmology because of their worldviews, as is illustrated again in my post @ 4. So before you start tossing around god-of-the-gaps arguments at me, read what I wrote.

  21. backfiend:

    OK, pretend that matter is fastened to space by very tiny pins

    Well, if space is like the surface of a balloon, perhaps something other than pins would be more appropriate.

    What are these “pins” called?

    Imagination?

  22. Backfiend,

    OK, pretend that matter is fastened to space by very tiny pins inserted by countless numbers of angels.

    Methinks the pin analogy might be a tad confusing for some…

    And in actuality, according to the physics, matter isn’t attached to space at all. Space is merely the term for the medium in which matter exists. So space, time, matter, etc are all expanding based on the initial properties of the inflation system. The properties of the inflation system affects all components of the universe, not just space.

  23. Junkdnaforlife,

    OK, Lamaitre’s theory of the Primordial Atom met with a lot of skepticism when it was proposed. That’s the nature of science. You have to make your case for a new theory. Lamaitre advised the then Pope not to use the Primordial Atom as confirmation of Genesis. The alternative theory was Fred Hoyle’s Steady State Universe. Hoyle hated the Big Bang theory, and actually coined its name in order to deride it. Also Hoyle is a favorite of ID proponents. He came up the the junk yard/tornado/Boeing 747 analogy. He also reckoned the existence of the carbon 12 resonance level was finely tuned indicating the existence of a designer.

    I’ve reread your comment #4. Lamaitre was ’20s, the reference of the Pope declaring acceptance of Big Bang cosmology confirming Genesis was from the ’50s. You’ve missed something out to make a story.

    But again, the precept of this thread, that scientists wanted an eternal Universe to do away with the need for a creator is just wrong. Before the ’20s, the Milky Way Galaxy was thought in the main to be all there was in the Universe (Emmanuel Kant just by deduction had concluded correctly that there were other far distant island galaxies though).

    With attractive gravity, the Universe should be contracting. Newton wanted an infinite Universe because he thought that this would avoid a contracting one.

    All scientists thought that the Universe was neither contracting nor expanding because the observations at the time supported neither. It took better technology, and a lot of work, to show that the Universe was expanding.

    Einstein put his fudge factor in to prevent the Universe contracting. Once the expansion was confirmed he took it out referring to it as his greatest mistake. His greatest mistake was actually not realizing that his equation indicated that the Universe had to be either contracting or expanding, and he could have predicted the expanding Universe before Hubble.

  24. 24

    bachfiend: “But again, the precept of this thread, that scientists wanted an eternal Universe to do away with the need for a creator is just wrong”

    Steven Hawking:

    “Many people do not like the idea that time had a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. (The Catholic Church, on the other hand, seized on the big bang model and in 1951 pronounced it to in accordance with the bible.) There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang.”

    A Brief History of Time, pg. 49 Tenth anniversary addition.

    There absolutely was a rejection by many in science to the big bang, as Steven Hawking readily admits, and I illustrated @ 4. Hawking repeats this theme again on page 146:

    “So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe had no boundary nor edge, it would have neither beginning or end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?”

    Here Hawking clearly illustrates in a crude way the beginning and its implications vs. the eternal state an its implications.

    Bach: “His greatest mistake was actually not realizing that his equation indicated that the Universe had to be either contracting or expanding, and he could have predicted the expanding Universe before Hubble.”

    I would say Einstein did predict the expanding universe, he just didn’t get behind it. As Richard Panek puts it in, The 4% universe, “Einstien lacked the courage of his equations: He missed predicting the expanding universe.”

    Did Einstein really lack the courage? Does he come off as someone afraid to rock the boat and go against the grain. Or is it possible that Einstein rejected his equations due to the philosophical implications of the expanding universe? Given the noted reaction by much of the scientific community upon hearing that time had a beginning, it is reasonable to infer that Einstein shared the same horror, and made a choice based on world view and not science. And if one of the greatest scientists of all time, possibly second only to Newton, is capable of succumbing to philosophical cravings, then the scientific community today is absolutely subject to driving science in directions that satisfy their ideological lust.

    The difference between physics and Darwinism, (and I say Darwinism so as not to be confused with evolution), is that physics is a rigorous discipline with empirical and mathematical support. Physicists always come around. The Darwin lobby can in no way boast the empirical and mathematical support in the manner physics can. So the Darwin lobby can get away with buoying their theories with worldview cravings because falsification in many aspects is nearly impossible.

  25. Junkdnaforlife,

    You’re quoting a modern scientist’s views for what scientists thought in the 1920s?

    Scientists had no trouble in thinking that the Universe or the Earth had a beginning. Lord Kelvin thought that the Earth was 30 million years old, based on its rate of cooling. Darwin thought it had to be at least several hundred million years old, based on the rate of observed geological erosion.

    Both were considerably out in in their estimates. The actual age is 4.6 billion years.

    Part of the reason why the Big Bang was doubted was because the initial measurement of Hubble’s constant gave a calculated age of the Universe considerably less than that of the oldest stars, a nonsensical result.

    It was only with more accurate measurements than the current calculated age of the Universe of 13.7 billion years was made, comfortably longer than the age of any star.

    It’s not true that because the Universe had a beginning that it had to have a Creator. There are many other theories to explain the beginning of the Universe, including Smollin’s fecund black hole theory. Another is Linde’s eternal inflation theory. The theories postulate an eternal, or at least much older, Multiverse. Whether a Multiverse or a Creator is more plausible is a moot question. You should have an easier time pointing to evidence of the Creator in this Universe.

    Don’t forget that Fred Hoyle, who was sympathetic in some of his writings to what later was labelled ID, thought the Universe was eternal.

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