Hello and welcome to my cosmology and astroscience blog.

Is Cosmology fact or fiction, science or fairy tale? Do we need it? Is it good for us? Does it have any useful purpose? Should we be confined to a Standard Model?

Civil, rational comments are welcome, rudeness and manic euphoria are discouraged. Let me know what you think of my  website and the articles on it.

Hilton Skywalker

11 comments on “Cosmology? Bah, Humbug!

  1. Skywalker

    C’est magnifique, mais ce nais pas la geurre!

  2. Paul Jackson

    Hilton: I admire the simplicity of your blog. It’s so quick to download and there are no bells and whistles put there just to satisfy the ego of the designer. Please congratulate Ian Hooper.

    The universe is pretty big, I’m sure you will agree, especially since you suspect it to be infinite. Now here’s new evidence for it being bigger than folk have previously thought — with talk of ‘dark flow’ from beyond our red horizon. Should encourage you!


  3. Oliver K. Manuel

    Hi Hilton,

    Congratulations on the design and content of your website!

    Theoretical physicists are finally ready to join you in following the path led by E = mc^2:

    a.) PhysOrg.com published this news on 20 Nov 2008:


    b.) Science reported it on 21 Nov 2008 [Science 322, pp. 1224-1227].


    c.) Nature reported it on 27 Nov 2008 [Nature 456, pp. 449-450].


    Hang in there, Hilton. All is well The universe and our understanding of it are both unfolding correctly, although we have no idea what we will find tomorrow! That is the joy of honest science.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  4. skywalker

    Thanks Paul and Oliver, for your comments and encouragement. I’m honoured to have such eminent professors of physical science on my blog.

    I’m still working out my duties as administrator and moderator of this forum, and how much the job pays, so bear with me, ok? 🙂

    Paul, I met a very interesting guy at CCC2, Prof John Hartnett of U. Western Australia. We are locked in (always cordial) debate on whether or not the Universe is finite around our special location (which John, for philosophical reasons, wants it to be) or whether it is infinite with no special place anywhere (which I, for philosophical reasons, want it to be). The discussion reminds me of those wonderful talks we enjoyed on the front lawn at Voelvlei, drinking tea, and chattering like apes! 🙂

    Oliver, I wish you were right, but I fear that you are not! At least, I think you are only half right. Yes, I have no doubt the Universe is unfolding as it ought to, but to say our understanding of it is proceeding correctly is creative exageration. We are often wrong in our interpretation of physical evidence, for myriad reasons, and you were one of the mentors who advised me that no matter how far down the road I had gone, or how precious seemed the opinion I had gathered along the way, when I found I was wrong, to promptly admit it. Thank you for that. I hope I shall never forget it.

    Great hearing from you guys

  5. Belinda

    Hey Hilton
    This is really great – I see I no longer have exclusivity on ‘Breaking News’ any more – but I do not begrudge this. I think it’s great that you’ll be able to get lots of people to take care not to give in to ‘wonky thinking’.
    Best wishes SNe!

  6. hilton

    Hi Esteemed Editor Belinda

    Yet another famous person engaged in changing the world’s perspective visits my humble blog!

    Yes I suffered a lapse of manners. I will get a reference to Ndaba attached to Breaking News. It is after all the finest publication on matters of astronomy available anywhere, and it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE to members of ASSA Durban!

    Thanks for your ongoing support and intellectual courage.

  7. hilton

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve been getting some interesting letters, as usual. Catherine WynSculley from the University of Cape Town sent me the memorial notice of the late Prof Tony Fairall. His is a great loss to astronomy and to society in general. Catherine also remarked that she is bothered by my contention that all space is 3D Euclidean. Rightly so! Of course, I quite overlooked mental space, which is constrained only by the imagination and pharmaceutical intake of the thinker. What I was referring to was the space that contains external reality, like my house, for example. That’s 3D Euclidean, without doubt. I have no reason to believe that space changes its fundamental properties to align with some or other mathematical conjecture as soon as it’s round the corner and out of sight. 🙂

    Dr Marvin Jacoby had a series of questions, largely concerned with the cosmology coming out of general Relativity. I’ve asked him to post his questions here, and then I will reply, and we’re off!

    My research on the Sun continues unabated, and there is some really exciting stuff on the horizon – for example, how the epitrochoid orbit of the Sun’s randomly shifting barycentre (centre of mass) affects the orbits of inner planets, especially Mercury. We may be able to show that the perihelion problem is not beyond Newtonian Mechanics after all!

    Then there’s a stunning analysis of solar activity, related to river flows and precipitation basins on Earth. There is the fascinating implication that sunspots may not, after all, be caused by internal reactivity in the Sun, but by external influences. Specifically, there is a direct correllation, at high statistical significance over considerable time, between evaporation basin acitivity on Earth, cosmic ray flux, and sunspot abundance. Are sunspots evaporation basins in the Sun’s photosphere? The lower temperature of the sunspot central umbra (about 1,000K less than surrounding plasma) supports the idea. You saw it here first, Nobel Prize Committee!

    Take it easy
    Hilton Skywalker

  8. Skywalker

    Hi Folks,

    Welcome to the new-look blog. My webmaster, Ian Hooper (a guy who designs with, rather than at, his client) caught his son Gareth in an idle moment to effect these changes. Stunning huh? Isaac Newton and I have something in common – we stand on the shoulders of giants. Everywhere I turn, people are reaching out to help me along this rocky road. How cool is that?

    take it easy

  9. Mark Sandison

    Hi Hilton,
    I have been wondering recently about the compression of matter since that is implied in the compression of the whole universe to a point of singularity as stated by the proponents of the Big Bang Theory. Using common sense, let us take the traditional gold bar (one of the densest of metals) most commonly used in international transactions, that weighs about 400 troy ounces and has a volume of about 39 cubic inches. Now, how much gravitational force would be required to compress this gold bar to the size of a Lion matchbox. Now, we are only talking about 1 (one) gold bar. Not all the gold bars in Fort Knox or on planet earth. Then, we aren’t talking about compressing the whole of planet earth to the size of a matchbox, or even our solar system, or even our Milky Way Galaxy, let alone the billions of galaxies out there. How much gravitational force would be required then for just planet Earth, let alone the whole Universe, to be compressed to the size of a golf ball? I wonder if the Big Bang Theorists ever thought this one through?
    Mark Sandison
    South Africa

  10. Skywalker

    Hi Mark,
    Thank you very much for your comments. I must caution you against evaluating BBT with common sense, or indeed, even with physics as you and I understand it. They have taken the term “counter-intuitive” and raised to the absurd level of being very nearly a stamp of approval – if it makes sense, it’s wrong, and if it doesn’t, it’s canonical. It’s a spinoff of quantum mechanics, where one has to accept the absurd in order to enjoy the benefits. Sadly, in the case of Big Bang, there are no benefits, so it’s really a lose-lose situation.
    Regarding the compression of matter, your analogy is excellent. It’s simply impracticable to discuss all the nuances of BBT and GRT here, but since I know that you have read The Virtue of Heresy, you will no doubt be aware of how they account for the inconsistencies in the theory. It is frustrating for reality physicists like you and me to have to deal with the contradictions that are consequent to this unbridled fudge-factoring. You see, if the whole Universe, including spacetime, were compressed to the size of a golf ball, it wouldn’t be the size of a golf ball at all, because the measuring rods we use to measure size would also be compressed. In terms of what we can measure, the Universe is not expanding at all. It stays exactly the same size as expressed in units of distance. But it is expanding. The distance between things increases without their becoming further apart. We would call that utter nonsense. In classical philosophy, it is better known as sophistry.
    Thank you for posting on my blog. Keep ’em coming!

  11. Skywalker

    Subject: Life-Centered Cosmologies and Human Unity in the Age of Cosmic Genealogy

    In 1859 Louis Pasteur disproved spontaneous generation of life, thus beginning the age of cosmic genealogy meaningfully characterized and defined by evolutionary panaltruism and human unity in shaping new vision and new direction for humanity: basic to life-centered cosmologies. Universal forelaws of empathy and compassion (empirical attributes of cosmic genealogy seated within the genome of humankind and all intelligent life) form the foundation of evolutionary panaltruism and human unity. Though today actively in denial of their own compassionate humanness, international terrorists remain genetically predisposed to assess and assume their rightful place in the compassionate/cooperative global society. Human unity is imperative in creating a democratically planned and shared global economy, in dealing with climate change, and in rolling back desertification on Earth (see Global Water Equilibrium).

    Life-centered cosmologies – uplifting human vision and direction critical to human unity and all life on Earth – build upon ongoing scientific research and discovery merging astrobiology and astronomy as pioneered and led by the late Sir Fred Hoyle, by N.. C. Wickramasinghe, Brig Klyce, Halton C. Arp, and others.

    “Life comes from space because life comes from life.” . . . . . . . . . . “But in order for life to climb the tree to a higher level, new genetic programs are required – which mutation and recombination alone cannot supply. When they are supplied, a major advance may ensue. Thus, in strong panspermia, the problem of punctuated equilibrium is also resolved. . . . . . . A consequence of this reasoning is that life on Earth can have descended only from life elsewhere that was at least as highly evolved as it is here.”

    – Brig Klyce, Astrobiology Research Trust

    As part and parcel of naturalistic Nature (“everything is connected to everything else”), life-centered cosmologies reflect cognizance of the observable universe of humankind (13,000 million light years in all directions), of solar systems with and without intelligent life, and of global water equilibrium. New human vision and direction highlight NASA’s Kepler Mission and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) aided by recent breakthrough technology suppressing the light of stars. Launched in March of 2009 to monitor 100,000 stars for orbiting Earth-size planets (adding to the number of exoplanets (400) already discovered), Kepler will be followed by Terrestrial Planet Finder, 2012-2015 and Darwin, 2014.

    Intelligent life reciprocally propagated from infinity to infinity by intelligent life, from habited sites to habitable sites, is a natural consequence of evolutionary panaltruism keyed as well to intrinsic needs of all intelligent life, i.e., to know from whence we came, safety and security, meaning and purpose. Exemplifying “concern for others and for those who will succeed us . . . . .” (Center for Naturalism), evolutionary panaltruism and holistic forelawsship at the core of life-centered cosmologies and global water equilibrium speak volumes for human unity, indefinable potential, and optimism, in the age of cosmic genealogy on Earth. http://www.forelawsonboard.net/CosmicGenealogy.html

    In forelawsship on board,

    Robert E. Cobb
    Forelaws on Board

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