In the ancient epochs of astronomy, it was tightly bound to social superstition, and there was little to set it apart from the religion of the day. The celestial sphere was perceived to be nearby, and charmingly benign. It was as if the stars in the sky were merely a backdrop to a world that existed entirely to nurture and benefit people. The self-importance that resulted from this myopic view is staggering. I’m trying to stay away from religion as much as I possibly can in telling this story, but gosh it’s a circus! We have in this day and age a popular conception of the creator of the Universe who is proudly male! Good grief! If there’s any one thing that persuades me that a literal take on biblical philosophy is incredibly naïve, it’s that God looks like a human male, and even more astoundingly, behaves like one, stereotypically. I’m not given to mocking the faith of others, but the conception of a patriarchal, sexist, chauvinist God is surely the most flabbergasting facet of a monumentally incredible belief system.
Well, I have after trial and tribulation managed to watch all of “The Age of Stupid”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a free download site that offered the entire movie in one chunk, so ultimately I resorted to YouTube and watched it in 9 episodes. Given the emotional style of the production, which requires uninterrupted flow to carry the feelings in the intended way, this was not ideal, but perhaps, in a way, it gives me an objective advantage – the fragmentation breaks the subjective grip, and lets one more freely examine the facts without syrupy emotional overhead. The Great Global Warming Swindle is by contrast produced entirely differently, and is much more satisfying to the objective investigator, regardless of ideological persuasion. Of course, both movies strongly express a particular point of view, that’s given, but by and large, one of them relies on tears and the other on data.
The stars are what they are irrespective of the opinions expressed in the field of cosmology. It amazes me that pronouncements are made about distant objects with such unshakeable certainty when in the cold light of day the reach of verifiable science is not nearly so self-assured. I am reminded of Al Gore’s brazen assertion that “the science is settled” in climatology, a field which rivals cosmology in chaotic outcomes. The most daunting challenge facing space science is that of scale. In an infinite Universe, we will always be infinitely more ignorant than we are wise. In my view, we have more than enough to keep us occupied in the celestial neighbourhood, and would do well to take things one step at a time. Compare the science proposed in Hannes Alfven and Gustav Arrhenius “The Evolution of the Solar System” with Alan Guth’s pronouncements on Inflation Theory, or George Smoot’s take on the CMB, or indeed, even the core principles of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. The question I like to ask myself is “How does this theory connect to observed reality?” In a sitting room conversation with Halton Arp a few years ago, the late Fred Hoyle said, “I suppose that in the end, Chip, the Universe will have its say.”
From chapter 3 of the third edition of The Virtue of Heresy:
The tidal wave caused jointly by Max Planck’s 1900 quantum hypothesis and Einstein’s relativity swept the scientific world, and by 1930, physics was standing on its head. As professor of mathematics at the University of Leningrad, Alexander Friedmann enthusiastically promoted these ideas, and his students took them and ran.
One young man in particular would go on to become world-renowned on the stages of mathematics, nuclear physics, genetics, and cosmology, and without him this story could not be told.
Georgy Antonovich Gamov was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1904. He showed an exceptional gift for mathematics and science, and in due course found himself in the mathematics classes of Alexander Friedmann, who was then at the height of his fame. Before the adventurous Friedmann’s premature death of typhus fever in 1925, he spent long hours discussing his ideas of the cosmos with Gamov, and these naturally included the notion of an expanding Universe. Gamov, strangely enough, was not convinced. Not yet!
I am writing two books simultaneously, much to the chagrin of my collaborators and publishers. Book two, “The Static Universe – A Challenge to Scientific Prejudice”, a fairly technical, scholarly work with Sir Patrick Moore, is nearly complete, and I intend taking the manuscript and a bottle of tranquilisers to Sir Patrick’s home in Selsey, England, in the New Year. The third of my tomes,“Unseemly Haste – The Catastrophe of Modern Science” hovers at around 200 pages, and changes colour like a chameleon.
One of the issues that raised the blood pressure of a few – very few – Virtue of Heresy readers concerns the question of evolution. The evolutionary scheme espoused by Big Bang Theory just doesn’t work, and I say so. Chapter 5 in Heresy lays out my arguments quite clearly, and is purely secular. It has nothing at all to do with religion. So relax, please, those at left and right extremes of the creation divide. Just use your common sense. That should be sufficient to clarify the need for BB theorists to go back to the drawing board and rework the way they suggest the Universe grew to what it appears to be today.
Here is a paragraph from book three for you to mull over while you save up to buy a gilt-edged, leather-bound hardback of the first edition:
“If we look at two parameters of biological organisms – diversity and complexity – and suggest, according to a purely evolutionary theory, that both conditions came about fortuitously because of interaction events over long periods of time, then we should expect that the phenomena of diversity and complexity should be scale invariant. Tiny things and gigantic things on the universal scale should also be diverse and complex.”