Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Evidence for the Big Bang or Overinterpretation of Data?

Some days ago the BICEP2 experiment made headlines in the news all over the world. The scientists claimed that they have found evidence for gravitational waves by measuring the polarization of the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR). These gravitational waves were interpreted as observational proof for the Inflation theory, which is an essential part of the current Big Bang model. According to the enthusiastic reports in the press, Inflation can now be considered a scientific fact.
Actually Inflation (the expansion of the universe at a speed faster than light during the early stages of the Big Bang) has all along been treated as a scientific fact, because without it the Big Bang theory would have collapsed long ago. But now some scientists have become so bold to claim that they have empirical evidence for it due to the results of the BICEP2 experiment.

But what was actually observed by the BICEP2 experiment? They observed tiny pattern of polarization in the CBP. These patterns are so week that they could only be made visible by complicated mathematical procedures that took them several years. They have neither observed the Big Bang, nor Inflation, nor gravitational waves. These are all just interpretations of the polarization patterns.
The newly published paper of the BICEP2 project starts right away with a description of the Inflation model taking it for an established fact and then interprets the data based on this premise. This is a nice example of circular reasoning, starting the argument with the conclusion (Inflation is real.) as one of its own premises. Alternative explanations for the observation were not even considered. Of course the BICEP2 results are consistent with Inflation, but this is a typical feature of circular reasoning. It is consistent, but nevertheless a logical fallacy, since it does not prove anything.

But the main problem of the BICEP2 experiment is that it assumes that the observed pattern of polarization is really a property of the Cosmic Background Radiation, which is pretty far-fetched. The first assumption would normally be that the polarization pattern is the result from something that is between the CBR and the telescope.  We are talking about 13.7 billion light years here, so there should be enough stuff that can polarize the radiation.
The paper refutes this possibility that the pattern is caused by something in the foreground by stating that they measured no gradient in the polarization patterns towards the galactic plane, which would exist, when the effect was cause by interstellar matter inside our galaxy.
But the BICEP2 scientists overlooked the most likely cause for a foreground effect. It is not some galactic or even intergalactic dust. It is far more likely caused by the Oort cloud.

The Oort cloud is a spherical cloud of particles that surrounds our solar system. Whatever light or radiation we observe on Earth, it has first passed through the Oort cloud and will interfere with its particles.
This expensive and time consuming BICEP2 experiment has therefore not measured a phenomenon in the Cosmic Background Radiation, but patterns in the Oort cloud. The results are therefore useless to make any cosmological statements. The only way to exclude the effects of the Oort cloud on the measurement would be repeating the measurement in another star system, e.g. Alpha Centauri.
This shows once again that cosmological questions are a vain enterprise as long as we have not even left our own solar system. The mysteries of the universe cannot be solved from an armchair in our bedroom. Without interstellar space travel asking such questions is a foolish thing.
Again dozens of well-paid scientists have wasted their time and millions of taxpayer dollars for nothing. Nobody benefits from this kind of research. The only purpose is to defend the doctrines of the "scientific religion" that attempts to give the biblical creation story some "scientific" fundament.

Sorry, but the patterns in the Oort cloud that have been indirectly observed by the BICEP2 experiment allow no statements about gravitational waves, nor the Inflation theory.
Inflation remains what it has always been – pseudoscientific nonsense that is incompatible with Special Relativity.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Steady State Model of the Universe

Observable Universe
As already explained in an earlier post the Big Bang theory has serious flaws. It has not been able to make predictions that were later confirmed and is heavily based on free variables and arbitrary assumptions (inflation, mysterious force that expands the universe, dark energy etc.). As such it is useless as a scientific model and untenable as a valid theory about the past and future of the universe.

I have criticized the Big Bang in many occasions, but have not provided any alternative model yet. Of course admitting not to know something is better than claiming knowledge when only speculating, but the proponents of the Big Bang theory could claim that there is simply no alternative to their model, even if it is not perfect.
Therefore it is necessary to propose an alternative explanation for the state of our universe to undermine the monopoly that the Big Bang creationists have on cosmology.
The alternative model that I am going to describe in the following does not claim to be true, it is only a possibility and it explains at least as many phenomena as the common cosmological model, but requires far less arbitrary assumptions. 

The only arbitrary assumption that I am going to make is that anti-particles are not stable. This is no new idea, because the Big Bang theory also requires this assumption to explain the obvious lack of antimatter in the universe. However the instability of anti-particles has not been experimentally proven yet.

Steady State Universe
The universe in this model is a steady state universe. This means it is infinite and has neither a beginning nor an end. It does not change its state over large scales. However it expands. Its expansion has been going on forever and will continue forever.

Vacuum Quantum Fluctuation
We know that the vacuum is not just empty. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle requires a certain vacuum energy. This vacuum energy is expressed in the spontaneous creation of virtual particle pairs that immediately annihilate each other by the particle colliding with its anti-particle. This is no speculation yet, this is a commonly accepted aspect of quantum physics.

Asymmetry of Particle and Antiparticle 
Now we make our only arbitrary assumption, the asymmetry of the particle-antiparticle pair. we assume that antiparticles are instable and can decay spontaneously with a probability, which is extremely small but > 0. This is based on the observation that we can only see matter, but no antimatter in the universe.
If the antiparticle decays then the particle will have nothing to collide and annihilate itself. This means a particle has come into existence out of nothing. This is a violation of the First Law of Thermodynamics about the conservation of energy, but we will get to this later. 
We have now established a mechanism that creates small amounts of matter out of the vacuum.

Gravity Bending Space-Time
Matter has gravity and according to General Relativity gravity bends space-time. When space bends around matter, then there is more space than in a flat continuum without matter. This means the distances inside the bent space are larger than in a flat space. Therefore by creating matter, we have also created space. It means we have stretched the space around our new matter particle. Essentially the space around the particle has expanded.

Effect of matter on space-time

Space Expands
Now space-time has the tendency to prefer flatness. Bending space requires energy, which is essentially in the matter of the particle. However when the space stretches out it can conserve its flatness over a large scale. This is the force that expands space. The force that expands the universe is therefore the result of the permanently created particles due to quantum fluctuation. It is not much but over large distances like a few million light years it is a significant expansion. We have now explained why the universe expands.

Conservation of Energy
With our supposed mechanism of creating particles out of vacuum we have violated the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states that the energy of a closed system is always conserved. It can neither increase nor diminish. 
However our universe is infinite. The total energy of the universe is therefore also infinite.And an infinite value +1 is still an infinite value. The law of the conservation of energy cannot be applied to an infinite universe. Not the total amount of energy in the universe can be conserved, but only the density of energy, this means the amount of energy per volume. This is why an increase of matter causes an increase of space. If we create matter, we have to create space in order for the energy density of the universe to remain the same over a large scale. This is another view at the mechanism that causes the expansion of the universe. It is a result from the conservation of the energy density.
It means we have to changethe formulation of the First Law of Thermodynamics, from energy to energy density, so it can fit an infinite universe.

According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics the entropy of a system can only increase. However this is in contradiction to our observation that the entropy of the universe is not at its maximum value. This is why cosmologists assumed that the age of the universe cannot be infinite. However they overlooked the main problem that remains even in a universe that has a beginning: How did the universe get into this highly ordered state at its beginning? This is another flaw of the Big Bang theory that cannot be explained by common cosmological models.
However our model of permanent creation of new particles has solved the problem. The universe permanently creates new matter in a highly ordered state, this means with little entropy. The total entropy of the universe does therefore not increase. It remains always the same. The increase of entropy is a local phenomenon that is compensated by the permanent creation of new low entropy matter.

Horizon Problem
One argument against an infinite universe is that in an infinite universe we would look at a star no matter in which direction we look, since the number of stars is infinite.Therefore the sky would not be black but white. Light would hit us from everywhere in the universe. And even interstellar nebulae could not block the light because the permanent radiation they would be exposed to would make them emitting light themselves. 
However this argument is false. Because the sky is not black. In a certain way it is white, better said it is red due to the red-shift.
The farther a light source is away from us the more it gets red-shifted due to the Doppler effect of the expansion of the universe. Fact is that we see light in every direction we look. It is the so called Cosmic Background Radiation. It is light that is red-shifted to a wavelength that is equivalent to IR radiation of 2.7 K.
Big Bang creationists believe to see the Big Bang itself in this radiation, but it is a far more elegant explanation to say that it is the light from the infinity of stars in the universe. The steady state model predicts this radiation. It's wavelength is equivalent with the energy density of light in the universe.

Isotropy of the Universe
The Big Bang theory had the problem to explain why the universe was so isotropic. This means it looked the same in every direction. Even two spots that were so far away from each other that they could never have influenced each other since light could not have traveled far enough since the Big Bang. This was explained by the phenomenon of inflation, this means space was thought to have expanded with a peed faster than light. Also these scientists were aware of Einstein's theory of Relativity that does not allow speeds faster than light,n they argued that this law does not apply to space itself. Objects can not travel faster than light, but the space between them can and it would somehow carry these objects with it.
Apparently these Big Bang creationists did not understand what Relativity is about. Space is not some kind of cosmic ether that can carry objects with it that float within it. The speed of light is the maximum velocity and there are no exceptions to it. Period. Speed is defined as the increase of distance between two objects. There is no absolute coordinate system of space that can be moved around or whose scale can be inflated. The speed of light is the maximum speed in which two objects can move away from each other. The space between them is not some kind of substance. It is nothing than a measurement of the distance of these two objects.
In an infinite universe the problem of the isotropy of the universe does not even arise. Only a flawed fabrication like the Big Bang theory can create such a problem.

Apparent Diameter of the Universe
The distance in which we can look in either direction of the universe appears limited. The common explanation is that the universe is only 13.7 billion years old. So we can only see light that has traveled less than this time.Objects farther away are beyond our horizon. This leads to the strange phenomenon that objects are disappearing from our horizon, because some objects are so far away from us that they will move away faster than light due to the expansion of the universe. 
Again the Big Bang creationists argue with the absurd concept of faster than light movement. But this is not possible. 
Even our steady state model assumes an expansion of the universe. And this means that objects farther away are moving faster away from us. However due to the Theory of relativity, they will never reach the speed of light. The Lorentz length contraction prevents this. Distant space appears contracted from our point of view due to Relativity. So the speed in which distant objects move away from us will never exceed light speed. This causes the effect of a finite horizon although the universe is infinite of course. However space in this distance appears compressed together until the Lorentz contraction becomes infinite. This means the infinity of space at this horizon is compressed to a value close to zero.

This was an overview of the steady state model of the universe, which is a valid alternative to the Big Bang theory. It needs less free variables and less supernatural phenomena like dark energy, mysterious forces that expand space, inflation faster than light or even a creator as the first cause of the Big Bang.
This theory has its flaws that would need further investigations and additional explanations, but it is still more elegant and simple than the Big Bang theory. It explains why the universe expands, why it is flat, why it has a horizon, the Cosmic Background Radiation, the low entropy, the large scale isotropy and extremely old globular clusters and ancient galaxies whose age is incompatible with the proposed age of the universe according to the Big Bang theory.
I don't claim that this model is true. I only claim that it is a possibility that deserves at least as much attention as the Big Bang theory that is falsely treated as a scientifically proven fact.
But maybe the whole question about cosmology and the beginning and end of the universe is simply absurd and irrelevant. For all that is important to us, which is not more than a billion years into the past and future, the universe has remained the same. Why do we need to question beyond this time at all?
There are more important scientific questions, questions that we have a chance to answer. It is better than wasting our time trying to answer questions that we cannot answer since we have insufficient data. Leave cosmology in the speculative realm of religion where it belongs to. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Irrational Reaction to a Non-Issue: Homosexuality

In Africa, especially Nigeria and Uganda, we have currently a strong move to criminalize and persecute homosexuality. Just today a mob attacked alleged homosexuals in the Nigerian capital.
Why can such an irrelevant issue that affects nobody cause such a strong emotional reaction in many people? When the topic is discussed, both sides use totally absurd arguments like it leads to declining birth rates (as if low birth rates would be a problem in face of today's overpopulation) and the claim that homosexuality is a totally "normal" behavior (which it cannot be due to the simple fact that it is a minority phenomenon).

For sure the issue has gotten out of hand. Homosexuality has a long history but was never the cause for so much fanaticism. In ancient Sparta it was the norm, but not a cause for outrage among people of other cultures. It was considered an odd peculiarity of the Spartan civilization but did not cause an emotional reaction.
What is different today?

There seem to be two main causes that this topic has become so important:
  1. Certain religions (Christianity and Islam) have a hate campaign going on. Once again the Abrahamic religions, which are notorious for stirring up troubles throughout history, are the culprits. Strangely enough these are exactly the institutions where homosexuality is most common today but hypocritically denied. Denial of suppressed inclinations is supposed to be the main cause for homophobia. So there is a good explanation for the radical strance of these religions.
  2. At the same time Western governments are pushing aggressively a pro-homosexual agenda. Same-sex marriage is institutionalized, although one should expect the decision to evade traditional gender models is a clear statement against them, i.e. against the patriarchal family and its gender roles. So why should anybody have an interest in imitating what he just has rejected?
    Western governments interfere actively with foreign cultures through granting and withdrawal of foreign aid and political pressure to promote more liberalism for homosexuals and maintain media campaigns that give the impression that homosexuality is just as common and normal as heterosexuality. This is very odd, since the same governments have also campaigns going on against prostitution, which is a far more frequent (i.e. normal) behavior and try to tighten  existing laws. So it is not about sexual freedom in general. It is about promoting the one and persecuting the other.
    It should not come as a surprise that other cultures don't like this kind of interference in their way of life.
We have to get back to a status quo based on reason and common sense. Sexual orientation is a private issue and should not be subject to legal regulations, neither criminalization nor institutionalization. Homosexuality is a minority phenomenon and should not get more attention as less than 5% of the population would deserve.
Mob lynching of homosexuals in Africa is unacceptable, especially since these countries have certainly far more urgent problems at hand. Religious leaders should be held responsible for these actions, not only in the countries where this happens, but also in the West. Hate speech in churches or mosques (and this includes any kind of criticism of homosexuality) cannot be tolerated and must have legal consequences for bishops and imams. Churches and mosques have to revise their stance on homosexuality or should be indefinitely shut down.
It is also unacceptable that Western media and government institutions indoctrinate the people that homosexuality is a normal behavior. It is not, just as any other sexual aberration. Sado-masochism or fetishism are not more or less normal than homosexuality. Neither of it should be subject to criminal persecution, but we don't need a thought police that tells us what we are allowed to think about it.
All of that are private issues. It does not concern any other people than those who practice it. The private life of the citizens must be respected and should not be publicly discussed, neither in a positive nor in a negative way.
If everybody minded only his own business, we would have much less troubles in our society.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Australian Scientists Discover Oldest Known Star

A team of Australian astronomers say they have identified the oldest known star in our universe -- one that formed a mere 200 million years after the Big Bang.
"This is the first time that we've been able to unambiguously say that we've found the chemical fingerprint of a first star," lead researcher, Stefan Keller of the Australian National University (ANU) research school of astronomy and astrophysics said in a press rele.
The star, named SMSS J031300.36-670839.3, is estimated to be 13.6 billion years old and is much older than previous stars found in 2007 and 2013, which were believed to be 13.2 billion years old. [...] The star was first spotted on January 2 in the Milky Way, 6,000 light years away from the Earth using the ANU Skymapper telescope. 
A single low-energy, iron-poor supernova as the source of metals in the star SMSS J031300.36−670839.3
The element abundance ratios of four low-mass stars with extremely low metallicities (abundances of elements heavier than helium) indicate that the gas out of which the stars formed was enriched in each case by at most a few—and potentially only one—low-energy supernova. Such supernovae yield large quantities of light elements such as carbon but very little iron. The dominance of low-energy supernovae seems surprising, because it had been expected that the first stars were extremely massive, and that they disintegrated in pair-instability explosions that would rapidly enrich galaxies in iron. What has remained unclear is the yield of iron from the first supernovae, because hitherto no star has been unambiguously interpreted as encapsulating the yield of a single supernova. Here we report the optical spectrum of SMSS J031300.36−670839.3, which shows no evidence of iron (with an upper limit of 10−7.1 times solar abundance). Based on a comparison of its abundance pattern with those of models, we conclude that the star was seeded with material from a single supernova with an original mass about 60 times that of the Sun (and that the supernova left behind a black hole). 

The self-contradicting nonsense in this announcement is really hard to digest, so let's summarize once again the central statements.
  • These scientists seriously want to make us believe that the first stars formed 200 million years after the so called "big bang". This would be right in the middle of the so called Dark Ages of the universe, when according to the big bang theory the universe was so dense that it was opaque. However they are telling us in this announcement that common stars could already form in such an extreme environment.
  • The assumption of first stars existing already 200 million years after the big bang contradicts former models that place the earliest stars at 400 million years (see graphic above). Once again the big bang theory failed to make useful predictions.
  • Again we have to read about black holes, a theory that has just recently been abandoned by its principal proponent Stephen Hawking.
  • The star is just 6,000 light years away. However during the last 13.6 billion years it has rotated approximately 60 times around the center of the galaxy. Shouldn't the remains of this ancient supernova have meanwhile been equally distributed  over a major part of the galactic spiral arm while other younger matter should have had plenty of time to mingle with it?
  • The age of the supposed star that caused this early supernova is calculated based on the low amount of iron in the spectrum. However the little amount of iron in the spectrum is supposed to be the proof for the calculation on which the estimate for the age of the star is based on. This is a classical example for circular reasoning. The conclusion is its own premise. Personally I can think of many reasons why a particular region in space has less iron than another.
Isn't this discovery much more an indicator that our estimate for the age of the universe (13.7 billion years) is simply wrong? Wen are discovering more and more stars and galaxies that are older than 13 billion years. So nothing important has happened in all this time, when the universe had only a small fraction of the age it has today and was many times smaller and more dense than today?
What we actually can observe is that galaxies have not evolved at all during the last 13 billion years. The universe still looks the same as it has always looked as far as we can observe it.
There is no rational justification to assume that the universe had a beginning apart from religiously motivated wishful thinking.
The big bang theory is inconsistent and cannot explain our observations. It has not made any useful prediction that could not be explained differently. We don't have enough data to make statements about the time more than 13 billion years ago. And furthermore it is irrelevant for us what happened 13 billion years ago.
Science should try to find answers to questions that can be answered, not speculate about questions that cannot be answered with the amount of knowledge available. For all that is relevant to us as human beings, the universe had no beginning. It was the same as far as we can look back. What is beyond this horizon is irrelevant. Assuming infinity of the universe allows accurate predictions for everything in the universe that might be important for humanity. We don't need a model that assumes a beginning of the universe and only creates new questions and contradictions in its conclusions and our observations. 
We don't need a big bang in science. Leave that kind of mythological stuff in the bible where it belongs to.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Black Holes

Recently the high-priest of theoretical physics, Stephen Hawking, publicly announced that black holes do not exist in the way as they were so far supposed to do.
Extracts from the article in Space.com

Stephen Hawking: There Are No Black Holes
Hawking's unpublished work titled "Information Preservation and Weather Forecasting for Black Holes" [...] declares that "there are no black holes."
[The] apparent conflict between what general relativity predicts and what quantum dynamics predicts [...] is precisely what theoretical physicists are trying to understand. This appears to be yet another situation where gravity and quantum dynamics don’t play nice, the solution of which may transform the way we view the Universe.
Hawking thinks that the idea behind the event horizon needs to be reworked. Rather than the event horizon being a definite line beyond which even light cannot escape, Hawking invokes an "apparent horizon" that changes shape according to quantum fluctuations inside the black hole — it's almost like a "grey area" for extreme physics. An apparent horizon wouldn't violate either general relativity or quantum dynamics if the region just beyond the apparent horizon is a tangled, chaotic mess of information.
Now suddenly after so many decades of theories about the physics of singularities, black holes, wormholes and other mysterious stuff that no human being has ever observed but nevertheless has kept generations of theoretical physicists busy with speculations and made astronomers treat black holes as an established fact discovering new examples of them all over the universe, now suddenly even Stephen Hawking has serious doubts that things might not be as theoretical physics has established as a doctrine of faith.
Maybe black holes have no event horizon at all.
Over years one could wonder how theoretical physicists simply could extrapolate gravity equations up to infinity considering that we don't have a full understanding of gravity at all. We can't even explain how galaxies are held together without introducing the mysterious "dark matter". We don't know how general relativity goes together with quantum physics. Nevertheless they extrapolate equations, which have only been proved in gravity fields, which are many magnitudes weaker than what is expected in a black hole.
Nobody has ever made experiments with the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole. Nobody has observed its physical characteristics.
Shouldn't science work the other way around, first the observation, then the theory? Now we have first the theory and then astronomers look for observations who could possibly fit into the theory.
Even the whole concept of a black hole is inconsistent. General relativity tells us that at the Schwarzschild radius of a black hole time is slowed down until its stops, when it reaches the Schwarzschild radius. So actually no object can ever reach the Schwarzschild radius, because time becomes slower and slower. So the event that it reaches the Schwarzschild radius never occurs. For an observer outside of the black hole space around the Schwarzschild radius is bent into an infinite scale. The distance to the Schwarzschild radius becomes infinite. So any object will fall forever and never actually reach the Schwarzschild radius. The redshift becomes bigger and bigger, but light never reaches the point when it would be unable to leave the black hole. Therefore the black hole is deep red at best, but not black at all. Light will never be able to get so close that it could not escape anymore. 
And since time has stopped at the Schwarzschild radius of the black hole, it can never grow. It can never change in any form, because time itself has stopped within the Schwarzschild radius. And without time there is no change. 
So a black hole, if it existed, would not be able to swallow anything. Matter would just fall forever without reaching its surface. 
Now Stephen Hawking has come up with another phenomenon around black holes, a chaos-wall, as the article calls it. It is another attempt to circumvent the event horizon issue.
But why don't we just wait before we understand gravity a little bit better, before we try to answer questions by extrapolation? We don't understand gravity. General relativity has only been proved in weak gravity fields like that of Earth or stars. We don't know if space can be bent infinitely or if there is a maximum limit.
Let's do real science, before we speculate. And science starts with an experiment or an observation and not with an empty paper and some equations. It may be math, but it is not physics.
As long as we have not created a black hole in a lab or a particle accelerator or we have not sent a spacecraft to the next black hole and conducted some experiments with the event horizon, we cannot claim that such things as black holes exist.
Black holes are not science, they are science fiction.