James Webb Space Telescope Shows Big Bang Didn’t Happen? Just wait…
James Webb Space Telescope Shows Big Bang Didn’t Happen? Just wait…
This story was #1 in 2022 a Mind Matters News in terms of readership. As we approach the New Year, we’re replaying the top ten stories of 2022, based on reader interest. In “James Webb Space Telescope Shows the Big Bang didn’t happen Wait…” our news division analyzed reports that unexpected new data coming back from the telescope was inspiring panic among astronomers: Webb was expected to only confirm the standard model of the universe, but its images are “surprisingly soft, surprisingly small and surprisingly amazing.” old.” (August 13, 2022)
Our take at the time: 1) It’s no surprise that Webb disconfirmed some widely held assumptions. The new views do. In fact, that’s how we know for sure that it left the launch pad. 😉 2) The panic was probably overblown. The big news for 2022 is a much better look at exoplanets, our solar system’s moons, and a variety of unusual star formations. 3) Disputes about the Big Bang are bound to be with us for a long time, no matter what, because it is partly a metaphysical question.
Although we don’t usually hear about it, there has been dissatisfaction with it standard model, which begins with the big bang, since it was first proposed by Georges Lemaitre almost a century ago. But no one expected it James Webb Space Telescope to contribute to the debate.
physical Eric J. Lerner get to the point:
For all who see them, new images of the cosmos from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) are stunning. But to most professional astronomers and cosmologists, they are also extremely surprising, not at all what the theory predicted. In the flurry of technical astronomical papers published online since July 12, the authors report again and again that the images show surprisingly many galaxies, surprisingly smooth, surprisingly small, and surprisingly old galaxies. Lots of surprises, and not necessarily pleasant ones. The title of an article begins with the sincere exclamation: “Panic!”
Why do JWST images inspire panic among cosmologists? And which predictions of the theory are contradicted? The papers don’t actually say that. The truth that these papers fail to report is that the hypothesis that the JWST images blatantly and repeatedly contradict is the Big Bang hypothesis that the universe began 14 billion years ago in an incredibly hot and dense state and that has been expanding ever since. Since this hypothesis has been defended for decades as unquestionable truth by the vast majority of cosmological theorists, the new data is causing these theorists to panic. “Right now I’m lying awake at three in the morning,” says Alison Kirkpatrick, an astronomer at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, “and I’m wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong.” [Update: Kirkpatrick has protested Lerner’s handling of this quotation. See Note below.]
Eric J. Lerner“The Big Bang didn’t happen” a IAI.TV (August 11, 2022)
Now, Lerner is the author of a book called The Big Bang never happened (1992), but—although this makes him a stakeholder—he is not mistaken. He will speak at How light enters festival in London (September 17-18, 2022) sponsored by the Institute for Art and Ideas (IAI), as a participant of the “Cosmology and the Big Bust” debate
The next debate, which features the philosopher of science Bjorn Ekeberg and Yale astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan, along with Lerner, it is based as follows:
The Big Bang theory crucially depends on the “inflation” hypothesis that the universe initially expanded many orders of magnitude faster than the speed of light. But experiments have shown no evidence of cosmic inflation, and since its inception the theory has been beset by profound puzzles. Now one of its founders, Paul Steinhardt, has denounced the theory as wrong and “scientifically nonsensical”.
Should we give up on the theory of cosmic inflation and look for a radical alternative? Can alternative theories such as the Big Bounce or the abandonment of the speed of light offer a solution? Or are these alternatives just sticking plasters to avoid the more radical conclusion that it’s time to give up on the Big Bang altogether?
Here’s a discussion of this general theme from last year’s festival (but without JWST data). It has a theoretical physics Sabine Hossenfelder, author of Lost in Math: As beauty deflects physics, along with Ekeberg and particle physics Sam Henry
So, yes, it has been a serious topic of discussion for a while. Now, what about Eric Lerner’s approach? Experimental physicist Rob Sheldon offered Mind Matters News some thoughts and a possible solution:
Current thinking is that the Big Bang era of nucleosynthesis produced 75% hydrogen and 25% helium (by weight) and some lithium, but not much else. Then, after 300,000 years, the universe cooled enough to produce atoms, and the gravitational pull slowly built stars. The first ones were big enough to explode, and the shock waves sent through the hydrogen gas caused pockets to form that started making real stars. But it still took 500 million years to get enough stars for a galaxy. Now the earlier a galaxy forms, the further back in time it is from today’s astronomers, and the further away it is the faster it is moving away from us. This movement causes the light to be red-shifted. So strong is this relationship, that astronomers replace “time” with “redshift.” But the Hubble Space Telescope could only see visible light, and those early galaxies were so redshifted that they were only “visible” in the infrared, which is where the James Webb Telescope shines. So one of the goals of the James Webb telescope was to see the earliest galaxies, and indeed they are seeing a lot of them.
So what does this mean for the standard model?
Theorists have an answer. Lots of lumpy dark matter to get the hydrogen gas to pile up early. Which leads to the question, “Why isn’t dark matter lumpy now?”
I don’t have the stamina to run all the rabbit trails that cosmologists propose. Instead, I propose that the first stars were not made of hydrogen, but of ice. The Big Bang synthesized abundant C and O which combined with H to form H20, CO2, CH4, etc. These gases freeze relatively early in the time frame of the universe, so the clumping was not gravitational but physicochemical, in the same way that snowflakes form. So we didn’t have to wait 500 million years for the snowflakes to clump together, it happened very quickly once the universe cooled below freezing. So James Webb sees many redshifted galaxies in the early universe.
The paper on this (and perhaps the prediction of what James Webb would find?) is in my open access paper in Blythe Institute Communications in 2021.
This is a possible solution. We know it’s science when it always poses challenges.
Sometimes this comes up: Could the universe have always existed? The problem is that if the universe had existed for an infinite amount of time, everything that could happen should have already happened an infinite number of times, including the fact that we don’t exist and never did. But we know we exist. How Robert J. Marks he pointed out, playing with infinity quickly results in the absurd. To do science, we must accept that some events are real and not mutually exclusive. So we can assume that the universe began, but now we’re a little less sure how it happened.
Note: After Lerner’s article, Kirkpatrick continued his Twitter account to protest about it Lerner misrepresented his statement a Nature about her “wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong.” Her current Twitter account name makes her vision of a cosmic beginning clear: “Allison, the Big Bang happened to Kirkpatrick.” What do you ask then? Based on the drift in the Nature article, it appears to be subsidiary theories inside the bigger Big Bang tent, for example, theories of galaxy evolution and, as she puts it, “the rate at which star formation occurs.” Clearly, JWST has raised as many questions as it has answered, some quite intense.
You can also read: Physicists opened a portal to? extra time dimension, how do you claim? That’s how the story reads in Scientific American. But experimental physicist Rob Sheldon says not so fast… Physicists, building “time crystals,” came up with an error-correcting technique for quantum computers. The rest is the story we all wish we were in.
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