Scientists at Port Angeles conference huddle over alternatives to 'big bang' theory
Sequim astronomer Tom Van Flandern.
By Tom Callis, Peninsula Daily News
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Something can't be created from nothing — that is another principle the group agreed upon, they said at a news conference Wednesday at the Red Lion Hotel.
The "Crisis in Cosmology" conference was organized to develop criteria for creating alternatives to the "big bang" theory.
The principles for forming a new view of the universe that were developed by the group are:
The "big bang" theory is that the universe has been constantly expanding since its creation in a massive explosion about 13.7 billion years ago.
Astronomer Tom Van Flandern of Sequim, one of the organizers of the Port Angeles conference, and others attending, dispute that idea.
Said physicist David Dilworth: "The "big bang" theory is a house of tissue paper that is about to collapse under its own weight,"
The intent of the conference was to come to an agreement on six criteria for the creation of a "good cosmology," Van Flandern said.
Cosmology studies the natural order of the universe.
A "good cosmology" would explain how the universe works, but not necessarily explain its origin, Van Flandern said.
It wouldn't use explanations that can't be proven, he said.
He added that the "big bang" theory does rely on unproven ideas.
So, alternatives to the Big Bang theory could include a universe that is everlasting and without an origin.
Van Flandern said a level of agreement was reached on four of the six criteria during the conference that began Monday.
"Even if people have reservations about something, we all agreed that some of these ideas area a good basis for a new cosmology," Van Flandern said.
Principles still in dispute are:
Van Flandern said the debate over whether physics or math should have priority was particularly heated.
"It was the equivalent of a food fight," he said.
Van Flandern said members of the conference will be in contact with one another until a level of agreement can be reached on all of the criteria.
That will take about a month, he figured.
The conference was separated into eight panels.
Van Flandern said each of the panels will publish findings in a journal — which will likely take at least six months.
Afterward, the findings are expected to be published in a single book, he said.
Van Flandern said the journals and a possible publisher have yet to be selected.
A unique conference
Eugene Poliakov, Institute of Physics and Time scientific director in Moscow, said that Crisis in Cosmology sets itself apart from other conferences because it wasn't confined to one idea, and included a broad range of topics.
"Even my wife said this conference stands out," he said.
Dilworth described the conference as an historical event.
"What is happening in my mind is a landmark," he said.
"The pieces of the jigsaw puzzle" to the universe "are coming together."
Dilworth described their work as "science-based cosmology."
He said some of the explanations for the "big bang" theory — such as black holes and dark matter — can't be proven and are "imaginary."
Big bang errors
Van Flandern said the "big bang" theory has about 60 errors.
A few of them, he said, are:
Van Flandern said there is evidence that some of the oldest galaxies and quasars contain a significant amount of metal.
Van Flandern said three main alternative theories to the Big Bang theory are:
According to this theory, the universe has always existed.
This theory can accommodate ideas of an expanding universe.
According to this theory, there is a continuing cycle of matter forming, growing, aging and dying.
Why Port Angeles?
The first Crisis in Cosmology conference was held in Portugal about three years ago.
Van Flandern said the second Crisis in Cosmology conference was held in Port Angeles because he suggested it as a host city to the conference advisory committee about a year ago.
"If you open your mouth, you end up being appointed," he said.
The date and location of the next conference has yet to be determined.
The conference was sponsored by the Alternative Cosmology Group, International Academy for Cosmological Studies, Virtual Institute for Rational Astrophysics, and Meta Research.
Meta Research is headed by Van Flandern.
It supports research with legitimate astronomical theories that lie outside the mainstream of Astronomy, according to its Web site, metaresearch.org.
Reporter Tom Callis can be reached at 360-417-3532 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 10. 2008 9:00PM