Cosmology Unlimited
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Musings, thoughts and insights on the "Big Picture"

I have had a deep, lifelong grounding in both experimental and theoretical sciences.  I use the Scientific Method and analytical thinking to solve most of life's questions and problems and do it tolerably well since the people around me have found my opinions and advice valuable at times.  One of the things that does not sit well with me is the lack of rigor or methodical application of each of the steps and approaches delineated in the original elaboration of the Scientific Method by scientists who should know better.  Much too often, they allow their egos and self-aggrandizement to interject itself into the formulation of a theory about which their prejudices outweigh their reasoning abilities.  At the root of the Scientific Method is Sir Francis Bacon's dictum to remove oneself from the concept and experiment.  Another dictum is Occam's Razor which requires choosing the simplest explanation for some hypothesized relationship when faced with limited data and more than one way to explain its relationships. 

Science is about Man's attempt to uncover the innermost workings of his universe, including himself using methods that any and all would be able to use and arrive at basically the same set of conclusions.  This is the well-accepted principle of repeatability.  It does not allow "belief" or "faith" or "superstition" to exist where facts and scientifically-grounded theory provide a framework based upon observation and scientific reasoning.  There is no place in this endeavor for religious explanations that always go counter to the observables that surround us.  So far in the development of cosmology, no deity is required to explain the creation of a universe that may very well have existed in one form or another for an infinitely long span of time.  For what is time but the continuity of motion... trajectories of movement of matter and energy forms.  We never see such things created out of nothingness or disappear into nothingness.  They interconvert, move and transfer different forms of motion and energy without the participation of any outside influence.  The universe and everything existing in it can be considered infinite in its existence and in its available space to move through.  The psychological "need" that many people feel to have a "Beginning" to a model of the universe is based upon our limited lifespan and mental and emotional capacities.  The physical universe has no "need" for a beginning.  By logical extension then, it always was, is, and always will be.  We are but brief sparks of heat and chemical energy that ultimately wink out due to the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Now what does this have to do with the current state of affairs in physics, astrophysics and cosmology? 

In the late 19th century, all of the world's most reknown physicists (many if not most German), had reached a consensus on their level of understanding of the overall workings of the universe.  At that time they had the Bohr atom, the periodic table of the elements, molecular theory, Newtonian physics, Maxwellian electromagnetic field theory, classical thermodynamics, radioactivity, and conventional astronomy to rely on to provide them with all of the answers to future questions.  They were smug, arrogant and inflexible at this point.  They thought there was nothing more of importance out there to discover.  Then a few years later, a little-known physicist/patent examiner by the name of Albert Einstein published his theory of Special Relativity and a recipe for "humble pie" was born. 

This episode has repeated itself in different scientific disciplines periodically over the last 3-4 centuries and too few notable scientists have learned the main lessons from it.  There is no room in science for "authority" or authoritarian approval.  Each scientist is the ultimate authority of his or her acceptance or non-acceptance of the findings and conclusions of others.  The ultimate test to determine whether something is acceptable is and must always be whether the same findings are capable of being duplicated. 

Cosmology is a study as old as Man's awareness of his surroundings and his attempts to make sense out of the common observables.  Movement of the stars, moon, sun and planets have been favorite subjects in virtually every culture and civilization that I am aware of.  But modern cosmology springs from some rather recent observations and conjecture, beginning with Doppler, Mach, Maxwell, Einstein and Hubble.  In the pages to follow, I would like to lay out my continued thinking on its origins, evolution, structure and a rather personal overview of its success at attaining its stated goals.

--- Joseph H. Guth, Ph.D., Norfolk, VA, June, 2004 --

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