Big Bang and Hypothetical Entities

May 9, 2005



Note: The dominant paradigm is currently big bang cosmology but there are a few scientists who are critical of big bang cosmology (BBC) and instead believe in an eternal universe. Although these critiques of big bang cosmology are useful we in no way support such alternative speculative theories unless they are consistent with Torah. These alternative proposals are not the current dominant paradigm and hence there is no need to present a detailed evaluation of them at this time.


On May 17th, 2004, Alan Guth of MIT made a presentation at ICCS'04. His slides from the presentation state that “We have never had a model of the universe that works so well” (p17), referring to the current inflationary hot big bang model[1].

As a major piece of evidence for his claim, Guth states that “Latest Observations by WMAP Satellite: Ω = 1.02 ±02.” (p8) which matched the BBC prediction of Ω = 1.000000000000000 which is the critical density.

This sounds impressive!


“Ω” is the Greek letter Omega which stands for the density of the universe. The density of the universe means the amount of matter there is per unit volume, averaged for the entire universe. The critical density corresponds to approximately one hydrogen atom per cubic meter, a density that is more than ten million times lower than that of the best vacuum that can be achieved in an earthbound laboratory.[2] Thus big bang cosmology predicts that the universe is close to the critical density and the claim is that observational evidence confirms this claim.

However, on the 22nd of May, 2004, thirty three scientists signed a letter stating that BBC had already been refuted by experimental observation[3].

Confused? Of course! At least I am. As a layman, I usually rely on the experts. But if the experts argue or omit relevant data and assumptions in their presentation, then we need to investigate for ourselves especially on matters that contradict our mesora.

Here is my understanding of what the dissident scientists object to and what Alan Guth omitted to make clear in his slides, viz. the proliferation of hypothetical entities which were introduced without much physical justification to address contradictions with observations that would otherwise have led to the rejection of the Big Bang theory.


In no other field of physics would the introduction of three hypothetical entities, each unconfirmed by experimental evidence, be allowed to save a theory. In addition, the hypothetical dark energy field violates one of the best-tested laws of physics-the conservation of energy and matter-since the field produces energy at a titanic rate out of nothingness. [Lerner, E.J. Two World Systems Revisited: A Comparison of Plasma Cosmology and the Big Bang. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 31(6), p.1268-1275, 2003.]

1. The big bang flatness and horizon problems in the standard model (involving a contradiction between theory and observation) forced Guth and other cosmologists to postulate inflation over twenty years ago.

2. In all that time inflation has never been experimentally confirmed – nobody has ever observed an inflaton!

3. With the hypothetical inflation, the model predicts Omega = 1.0.

4. This means that there has to be vast amounts of matter in the universe -- but current observed and predicted values are an order of magnitude less (about 5% of the predicted amount).

5. To solve this problem cosmologists hypothesize that there is some missing matter called “dark matter”. This missing and unobservable matter supposedly makes up most of the mass of the universe.

6. Dark matter has never been directly observed – in a variety of experiments conducted in the 20 years since it was first postulated.

7. Such a large amount of dark matter would make the universe at most 8 GY[4] old considerably less than the oldest stars (12 GY). This is because the gravity of the extra mass would slow the expansion of the universe.

8. To resolve this contradiction cosmologists postulate an unconfirmed dark energy field (based on a cosmological constant) to speed up the expansion. This force is totally unlike any force that has ever been observed. Like the other hypothetical entities it has not been directly detected.

9. What about the WMAP data quoted by Guth for his value of Omega? According to [Lerner[5]]:

Recent measurements of the anisotropy of the CBR by the WMAP spacecraft have been claimed to be a major confirmation of the Big Bang theory. Yet on examination, these claims of an excellent fit of theory and observation are dubious. First of all, the curve that was fitted to the data had seven adjustable parameters, the majority of which could not be checked by other observations [see reference 43 in the original]. Fitting a body of data with an arbitrarily large number of free parameters is not difficult and can be done independently of the validity of any underlying theory. Indeed, even with seven free parameters, the fit was not statistically good, with the probability that the curve actually fits the data being under 5%, a rejection at the 2s level. Significantly, even with seven freely adjustable parameters, the model greatly overestimated the anisotropy on the largest angular scales. In addition, the Big Bang model’s prediction for the angular correlation function did not at all resemble the WMAP data. It is therefore difficult to view this new data set as a confirmation of the Big Bang theory of the CBR.

A partial quote from the above article follows below (full article available here). The last two paragraphs make for interesting reading in a peer-reviewed journal, although the author is not the first to make such accusations.



The Big Bang theory requires three hypothetical entities-the inflation field, nonbaryonic (dark) matter, and the dark energy field-to overcome gross contradictions between theory and observation. Yet no evidence has ever confirmed the existence of any of these three hypothetical entities.

In each of these cases, the hypothetical entities were introduced without any physical justification purely to address contradictions with observations that would have otherwise led to the rejection of the Big Bang theory. The inflation field, which causes a super-rapid expansion of the early universe, was introduced after it was realized that the "horizon problem" prevented parts of the universe that are currently more than a few degrees apart on the sky from coming to the same equilibrium temperature, and thus producing the same temperature background radiation, as observed. Without this field, the Big Bang does not predict an isotropic CBR.

But the inflation hypothesis predicted a matter-energy density for the universe equal to the critical closure density, \Omega = 1.0. Unfortunately, Big Bang nucleosynthesis predictions of the abundance of ordinary baryonic matter predicts [approximately] \Omega < .05, a gross self-contradiction. The idea of nonbaryonic (dark) matter was introduced to overcome this contradiction. By this hypothesis, 95% of the matter in the universe did not participate in the reactions that formed the light elements.

However, such a large amount of matter would cause a marked deceleration of the expansion of the universe and led to predictions that the age of the universe was less than 10 GY, considerably less that the age of the oldest globular clusters in the Milky Way. To overcome this problem, as well as growing evidence that there could not be anywhere near this much gravitating matter, cosmologists introduced the cosmological constant and the corresponding dark energy field, which would account for 70% of the matter-energy in the universe, accelerate expansion, and increase the predicted age of the universe to 14 GY.
In no other field of physics would the introduction of three hypothetical entities, each unconfirmed by experimental evidence, be allowed to save a theory. In addition, the hypothetical dark energy field violates one of the best-tested laws of physics-the conservation of energy and matter-since the field produces energy at a titanic rate out of nothingness. No evidence has ever indicated the existence of nonbaryonic matter. Indeed, there have been many lab experiments over the past 23 years that have searched for nonbaryonic matter, all with negative results [15]. Continued discovery of more ordinary matter in the form of white dwarfs [16] and diffuse plasma clouds [17] has further decreased the ability of theorists to claim that there is far more matter detected by gravitational attraction than can be accounted for by ordinary matter.

Moreover, the Big Bang theory relies fundamentally on the violation of another very well-confirmed conservation law-conservation of baryon number. This law dictates that baryons and antibaryons are always produced from energy in equal numbers, and has been confirmed up to Tev energies. Yet an equal mixture of baryons and antibaryons at high density as in the Big Bang would result in an extremely dilute universe [1], so the Big Bang requires baryon nonconservation, in conflict with all existing observations. Such baryon nonconservation also implies a finite lifetime for the proton, a prediction also contradicted by extensive experiments unsuccessfully seeking proton decay.



All the basic predictions of the Big Bang theory have been repeatedly refuted by observation. The plasma cosmology approach has been supported by thousands of times less resources than has the Big Bang, but it has presented alternative explanations for many of the basic phenomena of the universe, has predicted new phenomena, and has not been contradicted by any evidence. Yet the Big Bang remains by far the domain cosmological model. It is appropriate to ask why this is so.

Even the most blunt contradictions of theory and observation are viewed by Big Bang advocates as, at most, the indications of "new physics," never a refutation of the theory. For example, Peebles, in considering the void phenomenon, admits that there is an "apparent inconsistency between theory and observation," but does not conclude that theory is in any way imperiled [48], rather only that an "adjustment of the model" may be necessary. Similarly, Cyburt et al. [15] agree that there are "clear contradictions" between BBN predictions and light element abundances, but conclude that "systematic uncertainties have been underestimated," not that the theory is wrong. Consistently new observations have led to new parameters, such as dark matter and dark energy, so that the number of adjustable parameters in cosmological theories has increased exponentially with time, approximately doubling each decade.

Four hundred years ago, a similar situation existed, at least in Catholic countries. Sixty years after the formulation of Copernican hypothesis, the Ptolemaic view of the solar system remained the dominant one among Continental astronomers. Galileo's elegant comparison of the Copernican and Ptolemaic systems, his Dialog on Two World Systems, should have ended any scientific doubt as to the validity of the Copernican approach. Yet many additional decades would pass before the Copernican system, already accepted at that time in England, would be accepted in the Catholic areas of Europe.

There is no mystery as to why this was so in the 16th century. The Ptolemaic theory was a state-supported scientific theory. The Catholic Church's advocacy of this theory would not have much mattered if the Catholic states had not given the Church the power to enforce, with state backing, its ideological edicts. Galileo, for his pro-Copernican writing, was subject to a civil penalty-house arrest-and famously forced to recant under threat of far worse penalties.

Today, the situation is similar, although the penalties for dissent are milder: loss of funding rather than loss of liberty or life. The Big Bang survives not because of its scientific merits, but overwhelmingly because it has effectively become a state supported theory. Funds for astronomical research and time on astronomical satellites are allocated almost exclusively by various governmental bodies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration
(NASA) in the United States. The review committees that allocate these funds are controlled tightly by advocates of the Big Bang theory who refuse to fund anything that calls their work into question. It is no secret that, today, no one who pursues research that questions the Big Bang, who develops alternatives to the Big Bang, or, for the most part, who even investigates evidence that contradicts the Big Bang, will receive funding. As a result, with very few exceptions, those who want to make a career in cosmology are constrained to work within the Big Bang framework-to do otherwise is to risk being cut off from funding, and, if a junior researcher, from tenure.

It is beyond the scope of this review to discuss how the Big Bang came to be state-supported theory (see [49] for a more detailed treatment). However, as long as such bias in the funding process continues, it will be extremely difficult for cosmology to extricate itself from the dead-end of the Big Bang.



“Proof of dark matter papers”


Who’s right?  Douglas Clowe’s team at University of Arizona claimed in August 2006 that they found dark matter in the Bullet Cluster. They even had a picture of it.  The Chandra X-Ray Center called it a “direct proof” of dark matter.  Two days later, EurekAlert posted a story about a new proposal to bring back ether theory in modified form; the title of the article was, “Ether returns to oust dark matter.”  Now EurekAlert posted a rebuttal to the U of A announcement: “Dark matter ‘proof’ called into doubt.”


From: Eric Lerner []
Sent: Monday, August 28, 2006 10:42 PM
Subject: no proof of dark matter

I’m responding to many inquiries about the “proof of dark matter” papers, astro-ph0608407 and 0608408 by Clowe et al. and Bradac et al. Data in the second paper is needed to understand fully the first one.

The first paper is very inappropriately titled and does not at all prove what it claims--the existence of dakr matter. The term “dark matter” is used in the scientific literature, and in this paper, as a synonym for non-baryonic matter, matter which is different from the ordinary matter observed anywhere on earth, including in particle accelerators. This paper does nothing to prove the existence of such matter.

What this paper actually provides evidence for is something very different: that in the case of this particular pair of colliding clusters of galaxies, the greater part of the mass is spatially associated with the galaxies and not with the hot intracluster gas. This evidence is that gravitational-lensing measures of total mass outline the concentrations of galaxies, which are physically separate from the main hot gas concentrations.

How do Clowe et al get from what was actually indicated to what they claimed? Only though a big assumption, which is in no way supported by their data.

The major assumption is that all of the baryonic, ordinary, matter is in the form of hot plasma or bright stars in galaxies.  The paper shows that the total amount of gravitating matter, as measured by gravitational lensing, does not correlate with the amount of hot plasma, as measured by x-rays.  Therefore, the authors argue, the gravitating matter is instead associated with the galaxies. Since the gravitating mass is much greater than the mass in easily-visible stars, and by assumption, there is no other baryonic matter, the mass must be non-baryonic or dark matter.

The flaw in this argument is this assumption that all the ordinary matter in galaxies is in easily-visible, bright, stars. Instead, most of the mass of galaxies may well be in the form of dwarf stars, which produce very little light per unit mass—in other words have a very high mass-to-light ratio. Several studies of galaxies using very long exposures have shown that they have ”red halos”, halos of stars that are mostly red dwarfs.  Other studies have indicated that the halos may be filled with white dwarfs, the dead remains of burnt-out stars. In addition, there is evidence that a huge amount of mass may be tied up in relatively cool clouds of plasma that do not radiate much x-ray radiation, and would be in closer proximity to the galaxies than the hot plasma.

The Clowe paper in no way contradict these possibilities, so in no way prove the existence of dark, or non-baryonic matter. Instead, they assume that any mass associated with the galaxies that is not in bright stars is non-baryonic, dark matter. They assume what they seek to prove.

Clowe et al also argues that their results refute the idea that there could be a modified gravitational law such as MOND. Yet if the measurements of gravitating mass are accurate, the clusters are all in the non-MOND regime, where the gravitational acceleration is more than 10^-8 cm/sec^2, so the clusters don’t provide a test of MOND.


In short, this paper really adds almost nothing to the debate about dark matter. It was already well known that hot plasma and bright stars in galaxies do not contain most of the mass in most clusters.

Eric Lerner



[2] Guth, Alan H. The Inflationary Universe. New York: Addison Wesley, 1997: 22. One way to find the average density would be to add up all the matter in the universe and then divide by the number of cubic meters in the universe. However, this process is difficult to accomplish. Theorists have found another way to calculate the density as follows:

Ω = 2q0 = (2/3Λ)(c2/H2)


Ω = density
q0 = Deceleration Parameter
Λ = Cosmological Constant
c = speed of light
H = Hubble Constant

Solving the equation for omega requires knowing four numbers, three of which are currently not known with certainty. The only number that is known is the velocity of light. No one yet knows the value for the deceleration parameter or the cosmological constant and there are still disagreements over the Hubble constant. The deceleration parameter measures the rate at which the expansion is slowing down due to the gravitational attraction among all the clusters of galaxies. The Hubble constant denotes the rate at which the universe is expanding. The density of the universe affects the future of the universe. If omega turns out to be more than one (i.e. there is more than one hydrogen atom per cubic meter) then the universe will eventually stop expanding and contract forming a "closed" universe, i.e. a universe with finite volume and mass. If omega is less than one (i.e. there is less than one hydrogen atom per cubic meter) the universe will expand forever and will eventually thin out forming an "open" universe. According to Einstein's theory, an "open" universe has an infinite volume and an infinite number of hydrogen atoms. However, if omega equals one, the universe is at the "critical density." When the universe is at the critical density, it means that the universe will expand at precisely the right rate to avoid recollapse thus forming a “flat” universe.


[3] Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448)20, 22 May 2004. There are now 229 signatures.

[4] See the New Scientist Letter for the 8GY.

[5] Lerner, E.J. Two World Systems Revisited: A Comparison of Plasma Cosmology and the Big Bang. IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, 31(6), p.1268-1275, 2003. The quote is from pages 1271-2, but the emphasis is added.