This one from the Discovery Institute is strange — but we could say that about pretty much everything they’ve been posting lately. We miss the old days when Casey would post about the “evidence” for intelligent design, and the reasons why the Kitzmiller decision didn’t mean anything. Those were fun! Now, all we get is stuff like this: Big Bang: Put Simply, the Facts Are Wrong.
It was written by Denyse O’Leary. Our last post about one of her essays was Denyse O’Leary Is Back. The Discoveroids have a page of biographical information about her, with a photo — you can see it here. We’re told: “She received her degree in honors English language and literature.”
Denyse is one of the best of the current Discoveroid bloggers — which says a lot. It’s always entertaining to watch her try to say something profound. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Typing “Big Bang Theory” into a search bar links us immediately to the long-running (debut 2007), immensely popular CBS sitcom, a post-modern look at the lives of Caltech physicists. The conventional meaning of the term, our universe’s origin starting with a small singularity currently pegged at 13.8 billion years ago, is a mere second thought.
A great beginning to a post about cosmology! Then she says:
But the Big Bang is unpopular among cosmologists. It survives on evidence alone. And sadly, evidence matters much less than it used to.
Those are three of the most bizarre sentences we’ve seen anywhere, and Denyse strung them all together in a single paragraph. Most impressive! After that she tells us:
Science historian Helge Kragh [Wikipedia write-up on him] tells us that astronomer Fred Hoyle coined the term “big bang” in 1949: “Ironically… to characterize the kind of theory he much disliked and fought until the end of his life… As Hoyle said in an interview in 1995: ‘Words are like harpoons. Once they go in, they are very hard to pull out.’” In 1949, he had described the theory as “irrational.”
Yes, poor ol’ Fred Hoyle (1915 – 2001) never gave up on his Steady State theory. He’s popular among creationists as the originator of the junkyard tornado argument against evolution. Denyse continues:
But in 1965, the evidence of aftershocks (the cosmic microwave background) made the irrational theory [Huh?] an apparent fact. … Kragh tells us, “Many people feel that ‘big bang’ is an unfortunate name, not only because of its association with a primordial explosion, but also because it is such an undignified label for the most momentous event ever in the history of the universe.”
It wasn’t “big” (when it began) and it didn’t go “bang,” so we prefer to call it the “Great Expansion” — but we seem to be alone in that. Let’s read on:
Undignified, possibly. But that is hardly the only reason the detractors didn’t (and don’t) like it. Arthur Eddington (1882-1944) exclaimed in 1933, “I feel almost an indignation that anyone should believe in it — except myself.” Why? Because “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look on it as frankly supernatural.” Others chimed in, making it clear that the principal problem is not with the evidence, then or now, but with obvious conclusions.
This is ancient history. Today’s astronomers and cosmologists don’t have any trouble accepting the fact of the Big Bang — or whatever term they prefer. Another excerpt:
As the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy sniffs:
[Denyse quotes from an article titled “Cosmology and Theology”:] A naive or ideological reading of twentieth century cosmology might count big bang cosmology as providing new support for theism, and alternatives such as steady-state cosmology as atheistic backlashes.
Yes, possibly. The entry conveniently demonstrates the very point it seeks to dismiss: The half-century war against the Big Bang is not going well for the warriors.
According to some encyclopedia article, the “war against the Big Bang” is all about its theological implications. We’re always suspicious of creationist quote-mining, so we checked Denyse’s source. After the part she quotes, the encyclopedia goes on to say:
But such a view misses many nuances, both in the historical record, as well as in the logical structure of these issues. From a historical point of view, there has been little correlation between religious views of scientific cosmologists and their proposed cosmological models. From a epistemological point of view, there are numerous obstacles to claiming that the big bang confirms the hypothesis that God exists. And from a metaphysical point of view, God’s hand is not manifest even in big bang models: these models have no first state for God to create, and these models have no time for God to exist in before the big bang.
Make of that what you will. Here’s more from Denyse’s brilliant post, as she shows how wild and crazy scientists are in their ongoing “war against the Big Bang.” She tells us:
We are now told that there is more to the universe than the Big Bang. and that, with the help of physicist Sean Carroll, we can speculate wildly as to what it was like before the Big Bang. A recent theory relies on a quantum fluid of “hypothetical massless particles.” Or a holographic mirage from another dimension.
And now we come to the end:
It all sounds like a guy explaining why he can’t pay his rent. Only the last sentence matters.
Wasn’t that fun? Now, dear reader, we have a question for you: What is Denyse trying to say?
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