The Big Bang Myth
Prior to the Twentieth Century, there was very little scientific speculation about the origins of the universe. Most scientists tended to believe something close to the Biblical version of creation and the rest usually viewed the universe as infinite, eternal and static. There were telescopes and astronomers to view and catalog the stars and the planets but there were no real cosmologists to craft theories about their origins. At the time, there was almost no experimental evidence that could be used to support any scientific theories about the ultimate origins of the earth and the universe at large. Geologists had found many types of ancient fossils buried deep in the earth but there was no experimental method to determine just how old they were. As far as the size of the universe was concerned, it was believed that the stars of the Milky Way were all that there was. Even though nearby galaxies like Andromeda had been observed, it was believed that they were merely clouds existing within the Milky Way because astronomers had no means of measuring the distances to them. While the distances to some of the very closest stars could be determined by parallax, there was simply no way to measure the distances to the vast majority of stars and nebulae. The origins of the universe seemed to be just too well hidden by time and distance.
This attitude that the distant past was forever beyond our reach began to change around the turn of the century with the discovery of radioactivity. The first revelation that this provided was that the atoms of matter were not eternal and unchanging. It was found that the atoms of some elements such as thorium and uranium were gradually and spontaneously transformed into the atoms of other elements. Soon it became apparent that the atoms of all the elements were made up of just a few basic building blocks such as electrons and protons and neutrons. This fact led to the very real possibility that sometime in the distant past all of today’s elements could have built up from a supply of primordial hydrogen atoms. Although this idea didn’t address the origins of the hydrogen atoms, it did give substance to the notion that the universe is not static and is rather slowly evolving from a much simpler state.
The second great revelation supplied by the study of radioactivity was that radioactive atoms and minerals could be used as clocks to measure extremely long periods of time. This made it possible to determine the extreme age of the earth. The chronology inherent in the biblical account of the creation places the age of the earth and even the whole universe at only about 6000 years. Charles Darwin and his followers had long argued for a much older earth to make possible the evolution of life and the origin of the species, but they had no real evidence other than a number of fossils of undetermined age. Then with the analysis of radioactive minerals it became possible to all but prove that the earth was at least several billions of years old.
It became apparent that the universe may have had a beginning that was not at all that different in principle from the creation story outlined in the bible. It is not surprising then that the first person to develop a plausible theory for the creation of the universe was a Jesuit priest George Lamaitre.
In all fairness, it seems that Lamaitre was more interested in discovering truth about the history of the universe than in verifying 3000 year old biblical myths. What George began was a new creation myth that culminated with the Standard Model of the Big Bang. What he had in mind was a giant primordial atom that somehow split into the atoms of today.
The next major addition to the myth was made by Edwin Hubble when he discovered that atomic spectra from the galaxies had uniformly increasing red shifts for galaxies that were farther and farther away. The explanation of this phenomenon that soon caught on among cosmologists was that this red shift was a Doppler shift caused by all of the galaxies rushing away from an initial “big bang”. They had no real evidence to support this explanation of the Hubble shift other than the idea that it could happen and the fact that it did have all the characteristic of a Doppler shift.
The next major component of the Big Bang Myth came with the discovery and then the careful measurement of the 2.7° Cosmic Blackbody Radiation. The spectrum of this radiation, shows that it is the purest of hydrogen photon radiation mixed with the other atoms. Its configuration in a blackbody curve shows that this radiation all came from the thermal couplings of protons and electrons. There are no random events in this radiation from other particle physics. It is just the pure energy curve of atomic photons.
Theorists had predicted that about 300,000 years after the initial explosion the big bang cooled to about 3000°K. At this temperature protons and electrons could combine into atoms and produce a burst of photons throughout the whole universe. The remnant photons left over from this event were expected to have cooled to a temperature of a few degrees Kelvin, and be spread out evenly in the universe in a much diluted blackbody shaped curve. The photons should have had the same wavelengths as 3000 degree blackbody radiation but with far less intensity than a blackbody distribution curve.
When these photons were found, they turned out to be the perfect blackbody spectrum photons for the very cold temperature of only 2.7° above absolute zero. They were no photons from a 3000°K explosion of hydrogen. Instead there was a perfect mixture of photons from a long ago 2.7°K thermal event of matter that occurred throughout the universe. Looking far back into a violent past we would not expect to see absolutely nothing but the peaceful radiation caused the thermal coupling of matter for a single temperature.
In the Big Bang myth this temperature difference is accounted for by allowing these photons to gradually lose energy and increase their wavelength. In this way the same 3000°K blackbody photons could be stretched into 2.7°K blackbody photons. The problem here is that even though we are dealing with the same total number of photons, each of these photons would have to had lost over 99% of its energy to a special kind of expanding space that only effects photons and has no effect on atoms. This idea is in violation of the conservation of energy. Here we have a great loss of energy and momentum but there is no place where that energy can go to be conserved. There is no experimental evidence that photons can lose mass and energy to space-time without a trace. The photons of CBR must always have had a temperature of 2.7°K. When we look into the distance past, we do not see brighter and brighter photons from a big bang. What we see are photons from the always dim CBR light bulb the illuminates the Living Universe.
The final component of the Big Bang myth came with the discovery that the most distant supernovas were as much as 20% dimmer than their red shifted determined distances should allow. The Big Bang myth accounted for this with another kind of expanding space (a fifth interaction) called dark energy that pushed the outer galaxies farther and farther apart.
The Big Bang theory is very believed and defended by those who think about those things but no one has found solutions for its many paradoxes and violations of natural law.