The Cosmological Paradigm
By John Prytz
Although modern cosmological ideas aren’t quite set in stone, an overall paradigm has emerged. IMHO it is rather seriously flawed which is perhaps why there isn’t quite the consensus in modern cosmology as say in some other areas of scientific inquiry, such as Darwinian evolution or the standard model of particle physics. In any event, the following current Cosmological Paradigms (CP) are stated then if necessary rebutted by myself (JP).
CP – The Big Bang Event is attributed to be / explain the origin of our (note: not “the”) Universe.
JP – No issues here and there are three lines of actual observational evidence that support and back this up. 1) The Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation; 2) the chemical abundances of hydrogen, helium and lithium; 3) the Doppler redshifts exhibited by distant galaxies that relate the shifts with galactic distance. The greater the shift, the greater the distance.
CP – The Big Bang Event happened roughly 3.8 billion years ago – give or take.
JP – I have no issue with this dating.
CP – There was no before the Big Bang Event.
JP – This is just an unproven assertion and there are various scenarios that postulate a before the Big Bang Event. I’d postulate that of necessity there must have been a before the Big Bang Event on the grounds that according to the First Law of Thermodynamics matter / energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore the Big Bang Event could not have created matter / energy and therefore matter / energy existed prior to the Big Bang Event.
CP – The Big Bang Event was a micro-sized (pinhead) happening. That is to say the entire contents of our Universe were jammed together inside a tiny volume in the beginning. This is deduced by running the expansion rate of our Universe back to just Nano-seconds post the Big Bang Event.
JP – Cosmologists can’t actually see the embryo Universe until roughly after 380,000 years post the Big Bang Event. That’s because the Universe was just too opaque to have photons escape. That’s akin to how photons at the centre of our Sun just can’t immediately escape and make themselves known.
Further, there is absolutely no justification for running the clock back to just Nano-seconds post the Big Bang Event. There’s the expanding balloon analogy. Consider the filming of an expanding balloon and calculating the expansion rate. Then run the clock backwards until the balloon was the size of a pinhead. You could do it, but it would be fallacious and unjustified. The same would apply to extrapolating a nuclear or dynamite explosion back to a nanosecond post said explosion and concluding that the A-Bomb or the dynamite stick was then the size of a pinhead.
Finally, if the contents of our Universe were once jammed into a volume the size of a pinhead, you’d have a singularity. And while cosmologists talk about a singularity at the Big Bang Event that implies that there must have existed the Mother of all Black Holes and this there could not have been a “Bang”, big or otherwise. Thus, the Big Bang Event happened in a volume of space that was large enough to avoid the formation of that Mother of all Black Holes; way, way, way larger than the size of a pinhead.
CP – The Big Bang Event created all of the Universe’s matter and energy.
JP – There is no way to demonstrate, even in theory or by use of a theoretical equation(s) the creation of an absolute something (which matter / energy is) from the state of an absolute nothingness. It’s absurd and prohibited by the First Law of Thermodynamics as noted above. Matter and energy must have existed prior to the Big Bang Event.
CP – The Big Bang Event created both time and space
JP – This is just about as bogus as it gets. Since time and space have no actual structure and are composed of no actual substance, neither can be created – except within conscious minds. Time and space are just mental concepts and constructs. Now the concepts of time and space are dependent on the existence of matter and energy. Time for example is just change and change is just motion and something with structure and substance has to exist in order for there to be motion. So if matter and energy existed before the Big Bang Event, then so too does the concept of time and space, again something that minds envisage since time and space are immaterial concepts.
CP – Because the Big Bang Event actually created space, there was no centre to the creation of our Universe.
JP – The Big Bang Event did not create space. Space is an immaterial hence mental concept. Space has no structure and is composed of no substance. Anyone who claims otherwise has to actually identify what that structure is and what that substance is. IMHO, the alternative is that the Big Bang Event happened in already existing, or preexisting space. Thus, there is indeed a centre that exists as the centre of the creation of our Universe. However, that centre has so now cooled off to the temperature of the rest of the Universe that it can no longer be identified as a unique point.
Further, the directions of all of the expanding galaxies in (not on) space doesn’t in and of itself identify the centre since each galaxy would have to identify itself as the centre since all other galaxies are moving away from every other galaxy (local galactic clusters excepted of course).
CP – The Big Bang Event created an absolute something (our Universe) from an absolute nothing.
JP – This, yet again, is in total violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics (noted earlier) which states that matter / energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Thus, yet again, there was a before, a previous material existence prior to the Big Bang Event.
CP – The Big Bang Event was apparently immediately followed by a very brief period of very rapid inflation. Inflation is required in order to account for various observational features the Universe has. These observations centred on: 1) the horizon problem; 2) the flatness problem and 3) the monopole problem
The horizon problem – contact between two regions – is a problem in that if you look at exact opposite regions of the Universe; you tend to see pretty much the exact same thing, especially when it comes to temperature. Well, in order for things to achieve equilibrium, requires that the two regions be in relatively close proximity since the exchange can only happen at velocities equal to or less than the speed of light. If two opposite areas of the sky, looking deep into space, are the same temperature, it requires that these two regions were once close together, close enough for equilibrium at or less than the speed of light to have taken place in order to even conditions out. Unfortunately, the distances observed between opposite points in the sky are such that uniformity could not have been possible. They are now out of contact with each other – beyond each other’s ‘horizon’ so any bits of non-uniformity between regions that eventuated way back when should have persisted – and when we look that deep into space we are looking way back when. We need some serious additional oomph to get uniformity between regions from way, way back then (i.e. – immediately post Big Bang Event) out to currently observed distances.
The flatness problem revolves around the observation that the Universe is fine-tuned with respect to the density of matter and energy contained within, a density that has resulted in a just so ‘flat’ universe. Translated, a flat universe is one where Euclidian geometry holds sway (the three angles of a triangle add up to 180 degrees). Now if the density was greater, the Universe would be closed, like a sphere (i.e. – the Earth), where the angles of a triangle on the surface add up to more than 180 degrees. If the density were less, the Universe would be an open (i.e. – saddle-shaped) hyperbolic Universe where the angles of a triangle add up to less than 180 degrees. If you have a potentially wide range of possible densities, it’s amazing that our Universe has that just-so flatness.
The monopole problem is that under the conditions of the Big Bang, one should have generated monopoles – magnets with either a north pole, or a south pole, but not both. Alas, no monopoles have ever been detected or observed. They appear to be rarer than hen’s teeth.
Well, the way to circumnavigate those problems is to propose not just an original Big Bang Event explosion, but an additional super-ultra ‘explosion’ that speeded up the expansion of the Universe, ever so briefly, by a very, very, very large factor indeed. This secondary ‘explosion’ was termed “inflation”. Inflation made the expansion rate of the Universe caused by the Big Bang to appear almost insignificant.
So how does an extreme, but brief, burst of expansion (i.e. – inflation) solve the flatness, horizon and monopole issues?
The horizon problem is solved by inflation. While, initial pre-inflation Big Bang conditions would have provided for the required close enough contact to achieve uniformity, regions flying apart would soon acquire their own distinct ‘personalities’ and be far enough apart that equilibrium could never be restored between these regions, even at light speed. However, that additional serious bout of Inflation then rapidly expanded out that evenness, Inflation providing the extra oomph and freezing the uniformity in place to the distances we observe today.
The flatness problem is explained because an extremely rapid rate of inflation would smooth out the Universe. If you’re bacteria on the surface of an uninflated balloon, you’ll see peaks and troughs – wrinkles. If that balloon is blown up thousands of times greater in extent, the surface will now appear flat – just like the surface of the Earth appears flat to us.
The monopole problem is solved because the volume of the Universe increased thousands of times over in nanoseconds such that monopoles were now dispersed over an incredibly large volume such that the odds one would be in our cosmic neighbourhood becomes vanishingly tiny.
JP – Inflation is just an ad hoc way of explaining away various anomalies that would arise if only there had just been a “Bang”. Other than the lack of these anomalies, there is no observational evidence that this brief burst of additional post “Bang” inflation. Another point of contention is what came first, the Big Bang Event chicken or the Inflationary egg? That’s not clear depending on what cosmological model you adopt. Also, I never really understood why you need BOTH the Big Band Event AND inflation. Why not just combine the two into one brief but violent Ka-Boom.
CP – As a result of the Big Bang Event creating space, space in and of itself is expanding and carrying the cosmic flotsam and jetsam piggyback style along for the ride.
JP – The rather awkward question is, if space is an actual something that has substance, what is space expanding into?
By the way, there is no actual observation that can be currently made that can distinguish the flotsam and jetsam of our Universe be carried on space as opposed to travelling and expanding through space.
Further to the point and in any event, the Michelson-Morley experiment in the late 19th Century (1887) disproved the idea that space was an actual something, at that time referred to as the “ether”.
CP – The expansion rate of space is now accelerating.
JP – Where is the necessary energy for that observation coming from? It takes increasing amounts of energy to cause increasing rates of acceleration. After all, our Universe was born with only a limited finite amount of matter / energy. That finite amount can’t be further increased as if by waving a magic wand.
CP – The energy for this observed acceleration is called “Dark Energy”.
JP – And nobody has a clue what “Dark Energy” actually is. Attaching a name to something isn’t in and of itself an actual explanation for what it is or why it is or how it came to be.
Further, if “Dark Energy” is all pervasive, then “Dark Energy” should be around each and every one of us right now. “Dark Energy” should therefore be readily accessible for in situ investigation – ditto “Dark Matter”. Both “Dark Energy” and “Dark Matter” aren’t just OUT THERE somewhere, but here, there and everywhere. Alas, that reasoning hasn’t resulting in cosmologists being any the wiser.
CP – Expanding space creates “Dark Energy” and “Dark Energy” expands space thus creating even more “Dark Energy” in an ever circular pattern.
JP – That’s a free lunch / something from nothing scenario. IMHO there has to be an alternative explanation that accounts for the apparent acceleration rate of our Universe’s expansion rate. Two things come to mind. The first is that astronomers / astrophysicists don’t understand Type 1-A supernova as well as they think they do. Type 1-A supernova were the standard candle that was used in determining the acceleration rate. Secondly, if the speed of light has not remained constant over cosmic time, that would throw a monkey-wrench into the works.
CP – The Energy density of our Universe is constant even though our Universe is expanding.
JP – The obvious conclusion is that therefore something (energy) is constantly being created out of absolutely nothing in total violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics. It’s a waving the magic wand scenario.
CP – Based on current observations, it would appear that our Universe will keep on keeping on expanding forever, resulting in an eventual “Heat Death” or cosmic “Big Rip” where “Dark Energy” will ultimately tear everything macro apart down to the micro fundamentals.
JP – That would appear to be the case – based on current observations and understandings that is.
Summation of JP cosmology:
Basic premise – The Big Bang Event happened in preexisting space and time and did not create matter / energy, nor was it a micro-sized happening. The (our) Universe is expanding therefore through space and not on space.
*The container we call “space” (actually IMHO preexisting space) extends as infinitely in all directions as makes no odds. No matter how far you travel into space, you can travel further.
*In this infinite cosmic expanse, universes are born (Big Bangs) and expand. Further, all universes share the same laws, principles and relationships inherent in our physical sciences.
*Since matter / energy can neither be created no destroyed, there has to be recycling going on at the cosmic level; on a cosmic scale, since otherwise time and entropy marches on and universes age and like good soldiers, just fade away.
*However, the problem arises that if our Universe is going to expand forever and ever, amen, then how are the materials therein going to get recycled?
*Lets first take a step back. There’s a lot of recycling that takes place in our own Universe. Lots of ordinary stars, even like our own Sun, spew out stuff – sort of like taking the recycling bin out for eventual collection. I mean things like the solar wind and coronal mass ejections. Other stars spew out more of their guts (nova) or even large amounts of their innards (supernova) into interstellar space. All of this expelled stuff contributes to an ever increasing amount of interstellar gas / dust which when dense enough, under gravity, contracts to give birth to new (2nd, 3rd, 4th, generation) stars. As an example, our own star is believed to be a 3rd generation star.
*Analogous to stars spewing out their innards (as expanding star-stuff), we have an expanding Universe. But in ‘infinite’ space what if one expanding universe starts to intersect another expanding universe(s) Maybe the now increasing density is sufficient to cause gravity (as in the case of interstellar gas / dust becoming new stars) to strut it’s stuff. One get a local contraction into a quasi-Big Crunch. It has to be quasi since the contraction has to avoid the Black Hole / singularity scenario.
*Anyway, old universes, like old stars, recycle into new universes. That’s true whether it be via a quasi-Big Crunch or if even instead a Big Bounce (see below), you still end up with a new (even if not improved) expanding universe.
Take the following analogy: There’s four cars all heading east, west, north and south respectively that’s leading to an intersection. The distance from the car’s front bumper to the middle of the intersection is exactly 60 miles. If all four cars travel at exactly 60 mph, it’s going to be one almighty Ka-Boom at the intersection. But if the four cars travel at 58, 59, 60 and 61 mph respectively, there will be no Ka-Boom at the intersection. The Ka-Boom is the analogy for a collapsing universe creating a singularity – the Mother of all Black Holes – and thus eliminating any possible new Big bang. The Big Crunch that avoids the creation of the Mother of all Black Holes is analogous in the same way as the four cars travelling at ever so slightly different speeds avoided the four-way crash at the intersection.
Another possibility is that what if the four cars are akin to super-magnets? Front bumpers are positive north poles and rear bumpers are negative south poles. So the four cars that are just about to collide in a Big Crunch don’t because their collective magnetic repulsions stop their motion then repelled the cars backwards and away from each other – a sort of Big Bounce. This might be analogous to how electrons are seemingly repelled from crashing into and entering the nucleus of their atoms or akin to the Pauli Exclusion Principle which prohibits lots of electrons from cramming into the same ‘orbit’.
Science librarian; retired.
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