|Hubble Space Telescope|
Until recently, such findings would have barely caused a stir, as the age of the cosmos was thought to have been revealed a decade ago by studies of the heat left over by the Big Bang.
By measuring the spread of that heat across the night sky, orbiting satellites had shown the primordial explosion must have taken place about 13.8 billion years ago, plus or minus a few tens of millions of years.
In 2013, astronomers using the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope estimated Methuselah was about 14.5 billion years old, give or take about 800 million years. That’s hard to square with the latest estimates of the age of the universe.
It does not look good for our Big Bang theory, which is - as we might remember - a theory inspired by Abrahamic religion and brought up by the Catholic priest Georges Lemaître who wanted a scientific foundation to justify the need of creation. Before that the commonly accepted cosmological theory was a steady state universe with neither beginning nor end.
The steady state theory did not deny the expansion of the universe, but assumed that the First Law of Thermodynamics (preservation of energy) could not apply to the universe, since it is infinite and therefore no closed system. Not the total energy is preserved, since it is infinite in an infinite universe, so that no finite amount of energy added or deducted could change this, but the amount of energy per volume of space measured over large distances is constant. So if space expands, energy (or matter) also have to increase at the same pace in order to keep the average density of energy constant. Instead of being created in a singular event (Big Bang) it was assumed that matter and energy are created constantly by the expansion of the universe due to quantum fluctuation of space itself.
The Big Bang theory changed this and gave the universe a beginning. In order to keep this mathematical model alive, which was not consistent with empiric measurements, new strange phenomena had to be introduced into the theory, among them Cosmic Inflation, a theory that is unable to provide any cause for it other than that it is needed for the equations to work, while it assumes the absurd concept of speeds faster than light. Other phenomena that had to be introduced in order to save the equations were dark matter and dark energy, of which neither was ever observed, while it would be responsible for the majority of mass in the universe. The Big Bang theory also set the age of the universe at 13.7 billion years, neglecting the fact that globular star clusters around our galaxy had almost the same age. Recently more and more galaxies have been discovered that must have been come to existence shortly after the Big Bang, which does not really fit into our understanding how galaxies are born.
And now we have a star that seems to be even older than the universe itself.
Astrophysics should finally admit that we do not know how and if the universe began and if and how it was ever different from now. We do not even have a working theory for gravity, which would normally be the first step of developing a cosmological theory.
Besides all this we will even in the future have publications by stubborn astrophysicists that take the Big bang as a proven fact and build their weird speculative theories on top of it.
Why can we not just start over, go back to what we really know and do research about things that we can know and that have an effect on us, so that we can experimentally measure them? Let us free science from religious beliefs and speculative theories (e.g. the entire branch of theoretical physics) and make it trustworthy and solid, as it once was.
Socrates once said: I neither know nor think that I know.
And this is one step ahead of all those scientists that think that they know, but actually do not know either.