4/8/2000, updated 10/25/06, updated 4/30/07, updated 12/18/08

Critique Of The Cosmological Model Of The Big Bang

R. Rydin comments

The Case For the Big Bang

The experimental evidence is reasonably clear [1]. As discovered by Edwin Hubble in 1929, the universe appears to be continuously expanding radially away from the Earth, and has been doing so for billions of years. To be sure, there is a certain statistical spread in the redshift data, and there are some anomalous features, but the gross expansion is well represented. As suggested by George Gamow in 1946, as soon as matter appeared it formed a hot plasma, which quickly produced nucleosynthesis of the primordial light isotopes from hydrogen up to and including lithium. The ratios of hydrogen to helium, etc., that result are relatively independent of the exact theoretical model used. Finally, as discovered by Penzias and Wilson in 1964, this plasma cooled as photons scattered to form a remarkably spatially uniform cosmic microwave background (CMB) blackbody radiation at an equivalent temperature of 2.73°K.

These three observations led to the General-Relativity-based concept of the Cosmological Model for the origin of the universe, which says that the universe began about 13 billion years ago with the sudden appearance at a spatial singularity of a very hot pulse of energy, called the Big Bang, which ultimately expanded in a center-less uniform manner following Einstein's General Relativity model to form all of the matter and structure in the universe. This concept [2] comes from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic idea that creation began at a single time in the past, and goes forward indefinitely into the future.

There are two arguments [1] for a uniform expansion, one philosophical and the other experimental. The philosophical argument is based upon the Copernican idea that the Earth is not located at any special place relative to a geometrical origin, so that there is no other conceivable explanation for the apparent radial symmetry of the Hubble expansion as observed from Earth than a uniform expansion. The experimental idea says that if the universe really began at a single geometric point, then we would have surely observed a hot spot in the CMB, which has not been found. So the expansion has to be center-less ( or there must be some other explanation for the data!)

In February 2003, it was announced that "a powerful satellite has captured the best picture ever taken of the infant universe, created from a year's worth of data. The new picture comes from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotrophy Probe (WMAP), a small $145 million satellite launched on a Delta 2 rocket June 30, 2001. The craft is equipped with a suite of instruments designed to gather the most precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation, the last remaining light from the blinding flare of the Big Bang. WMAP can detect subtle variations in light's temperature, which varies only by millionths of a degree. By detecting subtle variations in the glow's warmth, scientists were able to discern (using their theory of how the universe was formed) the primordial structure of the universe a mere 380,000 years after its birth."

Of course, since no one knows how long each photon has actually travelled before being detected, such estimates of age could be mere speculation.

"From that, scientists calculated even further back in time (Using Their Theory) to determine the conditions that must have existed at the moment of cosmological conception. They also extrapolated forward to measure the matter that makes up the universe today and, from that, predict what it will do in the future. They were able to (theoretically) calculate the age of the universe with unprecedented precision. The new estimate of 13.7 billion years has a margin of error of only 1 percent, compared with about 30 percent for the best previous estimates."

As reported in June 2003, "Rare snapshots of the growing universe are some of the initial findings from the broadest in-depth survey ever conducted of the evolution of the largest cosmic building blocks--galaxies. Among the survey's intriguing discoveries are seven mystery objects that could be the most distant black holes detected. Less than two decades ago, they were still hypothetical beasts. Now scientists have confirmed their existence and are collecting increasingly sophisticated data on their role as the central engines of galaxies. Chandra found 1,500 actively feeding super-massive black holes. Extending that to the whole universe, researchers estimate there are 300 million active black holes. But in the early universe, the new data show, "black holes are more rare than we thought." The large sample size made it clear that these objects existed at such an early time."

It almost seems that these black hole beasts had to pre-exist in order to get the whole process of galaxy building started! It's a question of "what came first, the chicken or the egg? "

"These findings support "bottom-up" models of galactic evolution and fit with the idea that the process is linked with dark matter. In theory, galaxies were born in the early universe when dark matter pooled into gravitational puddles, which then attracted conventional gases that in turn condensed into star clusters and, eventually into small, ragged galaxies. These galaxies merged, collided with or accreted other small galaxies, growing gradually into the giant elliptical and spiral conglomerations of billions of stars seen today. Astronomers estimate the universe contains 100 billion galaxies."

In effect, the scientists have no real explanation for their observations! They have to fall back on dark matter, and assume that it would gather together even faster than ordinary matter to make up the major constituent of black holes. But this is contradictory to the idea that dark matter also lies in a halo outside galaxies in order to allow them to rotate in a rigid pattern. So now, dark matter is at the center and the outside of galaxies, but not in the middle because it would then affect the motion of planets in solar systems like ours!


The Case Against the Big Bang

But there are lots of flies in the ointment with regard to the current Big Bang model.

It should be noted that it is scientifically improper to use the properties of a theoretical model to make an interpretation of a set of data to try to prove the validity of the model itself, since this is a form of circular reasoning that leads at best to consistency and not to accuracy. Proof of a theory requires independent data not tied to the model, and there is plenty of that available which is in conflict with the Big Bang model.

First of all, there does not appear to be nearly enough matter in the universe to explain the delicate balance that has allowed the universe to exist for more than 13 billion years, or indeed to assure closure and eventual re-collapse. Cosmic microwave data suggest that the universe is almost flat, or very near to being able to re-collapse. If this is true, then according to the General-Relativity-based Cosmological Model, we need much more mass than we visibly observe to make the process work. Recent measurements of far Supernovae suggest that the expansion may even be accelerating! The data below indicate that these events seem to deviate systematically to the high side of the Hubble curve, but there may be another explanation for this bias.

We don't know what this mass consists of [3], and we don't know exactly where it is located! 27% of it is assumed to be dark matter. The latest candidate put forward to explain the acceleration is called Dark Energy or antigravity, and it is said to amount to 73% of the mass of the universe! Only 4% is real matter, if we are to believe the theorists.

Second, the small observed (initial?) fluctuations in the CMB may theoretically be sufficient to trigger the growth of structure in the universe, but no method has yet been able to translate these fluctuations into a semblance of the observed universe [3]. This has occurred despite the postulation and use of various types of exotic dark particles that have yet to be observed, and not for want of trying to find them. Nonetheless, the theorists claim that the measurement of fluctuations of the order of one-millionth of a degree put the Conventional Model With Inflation "on a much firmer footing"! The new CMB data are asserted to strongly confirm the prevailing Big Bang theory and allow researchers to test various versions of the inflation theory, which holds that even before the universe was one second old it had expanded dramatically.

Third, there is still a controversy about the exact age of the universe, as obtained theoretically from the new CMB data, directly from Hubble constant measurements, and as obtained from measurements of the ages of the globular clusters, etc. Unfortunately, some objects like globular clusters seem to be much older than the accepted age of the universe!

Fourth, there are disturbing radially-symmetric patterns of walls and voids in the large-scale deep-redshift galactic surveys that have no explanation whatsoever. This is accompanied by large-scale drifts between galaxies that seem to be in the wrong direction with respect to the CMB reference frame, giving rise to what has been named the "Great Attractor"!

Fifth, from redshift data, almost all of the quasars appear to inhabit a spherical annulus surrounding the Earth, which suggests that we are near the "center" of the universe, despite the philosophical argument against our being located in any such special place.

And finally, there are a large number of other supernova-like explosive phenomena called gamma bursts and hypernovae whose origin and/or energy production mechanisms have not yet been explained other than postulating that they somehow draw their energy from black holes.


Point by Point Discussion of Problems in the Cosmological Model

1) Dark Matter

  1a) Inside Galaxies

 The first type of missing dark matter is apparently needed to supply the extra gravitational attraction necessary to make observed spiral galaxies and their nearby surrounding bodies, such as Magellenic clouds and globular clusters, rotate with essentially constant linear speed, which implies that stars farther from the center will take longer to revolve around the center than stars further in. This is called virial motion, and it is experimentally well-documented [3]. Typically, the visible matter seen in and around galaxies is only about 10% of what is required to match computational models of rotation based upon Newton's Law.

I had thought his matter must exist if Newton's Law is valid out to ten times the visible size of observed galaxies. But it could be ordinary matter (instead of exotic matter), which has not been triggered to form visible stars, but yet spherically surrounds the center of each galaxy. The discovery in late 2000 of planet-like bodies unattached to stars, having masses of eight to 15 times the mass of Jupiter, suggests that numerous dim real objects do exist in space. The further discovery in early 2001 of dozens of dark, dead stars, called White Dwarfs, on the edges of the Milky Way suggests that this type of almost invisible ordinary matter may account for as much as 35% of the missing mass! But a new theory of gravity by Cahill [4] gives a 1-over-r attraction under these conditions, and explains the rotation without using dark matter at all!

On Jan. 6, 2003, scientists said that they have discovered a previously unsuspected belt of stars encircling the Milky Way galaxy like a giant undulating hula hoop 120,000 light-years in diameter. Astronomers believe the star belt is the telltale remnant of a collision between the Milky Way and a smaller "dwarf" galaxy and could help explain how the galaxy formed about 10 billion years ago. The team discovered the star belt by using one of the most complex camera systems ever designed, part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

As discussed by Shipman [5], "the double-galaxy method and the rotation-curve method for measuring masses of galaxies have one shortcoming that two Princeton investigators, Jeremiah Ostriker and P. James E. Peebles, pointed out. Both of these methods use the motion of one object around another to determine a mass. Any spherical distribution of mass, or massive halo, around the objects and outside of the zone of their motion will not affect the rate at which the orbits are completed. For example, our galaxy could be surrounded by a massive halo and we should never detect the existence of the halo by analyzing motions in the galactic disk. While the existence of these halos is conjectural at present, we may be making a serious error in our mass estimate by neglecting them."

"But, you ask, shouldn't we see this halo? No, we shouldn't see it if very small, low-mass stars composed it. Such stars are very dim and hard to see. Specifically, if the halo were made of 0.1-solar-mass stars, which have 2 x 10-3 times the luminosity of the sun, it would be one-fiftieth as bright as it would be if it were made up of one-solar-mass stars. Stars of 0.1 solar mass have high mass-to-light ratios (defined as the star's mass divided by the star's luminosity in units where the sun equals 1, so a 0.1 solar-mass star has a mass-to-light ratio of 50). You can hide a great deal of mass in small stars with high mass-to-light ratios, since such stars are visible only if they are close to the sun."

There is a new problem here. Clearly, dark matter does not exist inside our Solar System to any great extent, because the motion of the planets follows Newton's Law exactly! In reference 3 it is stated that, if dust were distributed in the Solar System in a one-over-r2 manner, it would have to amount to less than a millionth of a solar mass in order not to disturb our planetary motion.

Exotic dark matter would have to obey the same condition. Hence, the dark matter outside the Solar system must be equally thin if it is distributed like dust. We are then led to a seeming contradiction for galaxies, which implies that this dark matter must be concentrated in large bodies rather than spread out thinly if it is to add up to ten times the visible mass! That is to say, it must act like unseen large planets and dead stars. But here is another seeming contradiction: dark matter apparently doesn't gather into clumps under the force of its own gravitational attraction!

The situation becomes even more confused by the fact that if gravity were to saturate and stop acting at a mean-square distance of the order of 2000 parsecs, leading to an effective 1/r local behavior as postulated by Van Flandern [6], then the virial motion could take place without needing any of this type of dark matter! This is in fact what Cahill's [4] new gravitational theory produces!

Van Flandern presents compelling experimental evidence that gravity acts almost instantaneously over very large distances, rather than propagating at the speed of light. Cahill's extra term contains the fine structure constant, which contains Planck's constant, giving gravity a quantum behavior. Such theory actually supports instant action at a distance! Van Flandern has strongly criticized Kopeikin's recent claim, about measuring the speed of gravity, on the Meta website. Gravity manages to escape a black hole, while light does not. Hence, Van Flandern argues that there is a fundamental difference between electromagnetic forces, which both attract and repel and travel at the speed of light, and gravity, which attracts only and acts faster than the speed of light! There is no equivalent to Maxwell's equations for gravity. To me, this is a strong argument against the Grand Unification Theory (GUT) or the Theory Of Everything (TOE) that all four fundamental forces come together in a Big Bang environment.

  1b) In the Universe

 The second type or types of exotic dark matter or energy are postulated to exist in order to assure that the universe is almost closed or flat in the Cosmological Model! This is a consequence of starting the universe at a singularity, expanding all of it's matter uniformly from that point, and having the universe be so delicately balanced at Creation that it neither collapsed immediately nor expanded excessively fast.

The initial expansion then seemingly had to occur at greater than the speed of light, which is called inflation [1], and which is a consequence of our being unable to extrapolate the present expansion backwards in time to a singularity in a linear fashion. Inflation serves to connect the theoretical models of the first instant to the observational space of today's universe. The remainder of the expansion had to subsequently conserve the same initial properties that existed during inflation. Unfortunately, the exotic dark matter needed for this purpose significantly exceeds the proven visible and ordinary dark matter! Candidates for this dark matter are neutrinos, weakly interacting massive particles (WIMPS), light particles called axions, and vacuum energy fluctuations in space. Again, we have the problem of how and where we distribute this extra mass so as not to change the motion of the Solar System.

Of course, if the Cosmological Model is wrong in its description or assumptions, then most of the latter exotic dark matter need not exist at all!

2) Structure in the Universe

The theoretical foundation for the Big Bang view of the universe is the Cosmological Principle, which states that the universe started out to be homogeneous and isotropic, despite the fact that it appears to be quite heterogeneous to us. These are the simplest conditions under which Einstein's General Field Equations can be solved, and hence, this has apparently been assumed to be the only solution. The resulting solution only has one degree of freedom, which means that the universe must expand uniformly in all directions. This has been taken to be an expansion of space itself, with the matter being separated by new space, rather than being in actual motion. In fact, this is called Proper motion, and local gravity-driven relative velocities between galaxies are called Peculiar motion.

General Relativity theorists describe the centerless 3D expansion in terms of a balloon analogy, where all stars move away from each other as the balloon expands. All observers are said to see exactly the same pattern. However, this implies that an observer on Earth can see a far galaxy, and an observer in that galaxy can see other galaxies that we cannot see, and vice versa. When extended to many such sample observers, it is clear that the universe becomes infinite in extent and there is no effective surface edge. Nonetheless, these same theorists say that when we look in all directions from Earth, what we see at the far edge of our sight is evidence of the beginning of the universe, namely, we actually see immature galaxies being formed. And slightly beyond that is where they say the CMB was generated, whose fluctuations are of such great interest to them. Unfortunately, these two concepts are logically incompatible! If there is no finite surface, how can that surface be so important?

One possible answer is that General Relativity is the wrong explanation for the behavior of the universe, and consequently all three of Friedmann's solutions to this formulation do not apply to the real world!

Another question is, how did the universe subsequently become lumpy and bumpy, so that it now contains so much structure? Attempts to computationally simulate galaxy formation by pure gravitational attraction fail completely to match the observed structure. However, cosmologists believe that initial small fluctuations that began at the time of the Big Bang propagated through space to form the seeds that eventually produced the observed structure. Indeed, there are measurements of small fluctuations in the CMB that may support this idea, and theorists are trying to tie these fluctuations to the development of galactic structure.

Unfortunately, all numerical simulations done to date are unsatisfactory [3]. Neutrinos alone do not produce acceptable structure, and combinations of neutrinos and other exotic particles that would theoretically have been released at different time stages during the Big Bang only give a semblance of correct structure over relatively small spatial regions, but with incorrect statistics.

There is another conceptual difficulty. If only gasses were initially formed, how did the resulting galaxy structures attain velocities that correspond to Hubble's law? Wouldn't the gasses initially obey laws of gas dynamics as well as gravity, which would tend to randomize their motion? Wouldn't space have been created in between gas atoms? Wouldn't expansion of space and gas dynamics have acted against galaxy formation? How could these random motions end up following a discrete Hubble distribution?

But even if the above difficulties were resolved, the apparently correlated large-scale great wall structure of the universe has never been simulated because some sort of initial sine-squared spatial bias would have to be introduced to direct galaxy formation to be denser in some places than others. This type of bias does not appear naturally in the Cosmological Principle.

3) The Age of the Universe

How old is the universe? To some cosmologists, who worry about the theory of the origin and expansion of the universe, the age is somewhat less than 12 billion years, as determined by the best measurement of the Hubble constant. The new CMB data implies an age of 13.7 billion years. Recent data on the cooling rate of white dwarf stars is said to imply an age of about 13 billion years. Shipman [4] discusses the history of Hubble constant determinations from Hubble's original 1935 value of 526 km/sec/mpc to Sandage's 1975 value of 55km/sec/mpc. The lowest value of the Hubble constant gives the highest age. But, to the astronomers who observe the far galaxies and measure distances by determining optical red shifts, the oldest galaxies and globular clusters may be >15 billion years old. So the correct age is a major controversy.

The question is: If all of the matter in the universe started out at the same place, and traveled away from it at less than the speed of light, then how long did the matter take to get to the point where it was observed? In other words, it may have taken more than 12 billion years for the matter to get there, a billion years to evolve, and another 12 billion years for the light to come back to us. This makes the Universe much older than the accepted maximum value! This is the "Over-and-Back" paradox, by which the age of any far galaxy could be equal to the sum of the time that it took for its matter to separate from our Earth plus the time it took for its light to return to us. At a minimum, the age of the universe could be double what is currently accepted, and that happens only if the separation occurred at the average speed of light! Following the hypothesis of a Big Bang spacial expansion, it is unreasonable to think that the edges of the universe expanded away from us on average as fast as the speed of light for 12 billion years before they suddenly slowed down to present speeds, so the age would have to be much more than double for this case.

Is the universe really double, or triple, or even ten times as old as scientists presently think it is?!!

4) Walls and Voids

A series of long-distance measurements of galaxy distributions has been made, called the deep red-shift North-South (N-S) Galactic pencil Surveys [7]. The data extend out to 5 billion light years in either direction from the plane of the Milky Way, and exhibit the remarkable structure of an almost symmetric damped sinusoid with an apparent period of about 400 million light years measured in today's distances, as shown in the accompanying Figures. A second survey was done at an angle of 45 degrees to the plane of the Milky Way that shows remarkable similarities to the N-S survey. The correlation coefficient of the peak separations is greater than 0.9, meaning that the period is real and the data are correlated. The distribution of galaxies has a common cause!

 5) Other Major Discrepancies

The final problem that frustrates cosmologists is the disturbing observance of large-scale-drift in our local galactic clusters [3]. The Earth has a dipole-anisotropy with respect to the reference frame of the CMB, which appears to be centered near the super-cluster Virgo! The Earth appears to be moving towards Virgo at a deviation of about 30° and at a relative velocity of 600 km/s (This velocity is based on an assumption that the Big Bang model is correct, so it may not be accurate due to the corrections made). But the cosmologists expected it to be moving the other way!

Commentary Concerning the Need for a New Model

Although some of the experimental data support the Cosmological Model, large discrepancies remain. Most of these are tied to an insistence on beginning the Big Bang at a singularity. A great deal of theoretical physics has been devoted to taking this infinitesimal point and cooling and expanding it to the size of the universe. Many of the conclusions about particle physics may indeed be correct, but these may be the correct answers to a different problem and not to the one that was to be solved! The fact that several groups interpret the same data in different ways and get the same theoretical result is merely a measure of consistency and not accuracy. It says nothing about whether or not the problem was properly posed in the first place!

It makes sense to examine new models by which the universe could have been created, ways that have a possibility of resolving the many discrepancies that still exist in the Cosmological Model. Otherwise, more and more effort will be expended on more and more exotic theoretical ideas designed to fix or patch the old model.

A good candidate for a new model is a coherent spherical wave of matter-creating energy propagating from an origin at the speed of light, since this has a chance to explain the periodic walls, resolve the age controversy, and even explain the apparent acceleration of the universe as an artifact of observation, thus obviating the need to find exotic dark matter.



  1) Alan H. Guth, The Inflationary Universe, Perseus Books, Reading MA, Chapters 1-3, 7,8, 1997.

  2) Paul Davis, About Time, Einstein's Unfinished Revolution, Simon and Schuster, New York, NY, Chapter 1, 1995

  3) Lawrence Krauss, Quintessence, the Mystery of Missing Mass in the Universe, Basic Books, Parts II-IV, New York, NY, 2000.

  4) Reginald Cahill, "Black Holes in Elliptical and Spiral Galaxies and in Globular Clusters", Progress in Physics, 4, pp 51-56, October 2005.

  5) Harry Shipman, Black Holes, Quasars & The Universe, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, 1976

  6) Tom Van Flandern, Dark Matter, Missing Planets, & New Comets, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, California, 1998.

  7) D.C. Koo, N. Ellman, R.G. Kron, J.A. Munn, A.S. Szalay, T.J. Broadhurst, and R.S. Ellis, "Deep Pencil-Beam Redshift Surveys as Probes of Large Scale Structures", Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Conference Series, Vol. 51, 1993, and S.R. Majewski, class notes, Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, March 1996.