Astronomers Redraw the Cosmic Map


Precise measurements of distortions in cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) are now being used to redraw the cosmic map of ancient deep space.

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Data from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope have been analyzed in an effort to locate faraway galaxies. The mass in those galaxies is believed to have caused gravitational distortion of the CMBR’s inherent small irregularities. Since secular astronomers believe the light being observed required billions of years to reach earth, they interpret their findings as a map of the universe-that-was.

CMBR is a very uniform type of radiation emanating from all directions in outer space. NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe detected extremely tiny fluctuations in CMBR thought to represent slight temperature variations. Astronomers using the Atacama telescope have statistically analyzed the way these fluctuations vary and determined that the pattern of their distortion indicates the locations of distant galaxies. This method of locating galaxies is called gravitational lensing.

Since big bang cosmology predicted that CMBR would be leftover from the explosion, the 1965 discovery of CMBR was interpreted by many as proof that the big bang happened. Later measurements showing the relative constancy of CMBR temperature throughout the universe presented problems for the big bang idea, since even big bang estimates of the age of the universe do not allow enough time for CMBR temperature to reach a steady state. While the discovery of CMBR caused many astronomers to choose the big bang from the menu of available secular theories of the universe’s origins, it did not prove the big bang happened.

Another problem unexplained by the big bang was discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate. Secular cosmologists therefore postulated the existence of undetected dark energy to fuel such expansion and calculated that at least 70% of the universe consists of dark energy. The research derived from Atacama, reported in Physical Review Letters, also claims to have proven the existence of dark energy. Yet once again, discovery of something predicted by a particular model does not prove that model is accurate. Furthermore, neither dark energy nor CMBR is a problem for creation cosmology models.

The latest technique may be building a more accurate cosmic map—or not. We should realize that the interpretation of the data depends on many assumptions. It assumes that the tiny fluctuations in the CMBR result from slight density variations in the explosive products of the big bang. In fact, big bang cosmologists postulate that these tiny irregularities in density were the gravitational “seeds” around which galaxies formed. Big bang believers exclude the possibility that those tiny fluctuations could be caused by intervening material because big bang cosmology needs those tiny fluctuations to provide a way for the galaxies to have formed. Thus the technique demands that the tiny fluctuations be an inherent feature in the CMBR but that apparent distortions of those fluctuations must be caused by the gravitational pull of galaxies. The technique further assumes that the CMBR is coming from far beyond the farthest galaxies, an assumption which cannot be proven one way or the other.

Secular astronomers who adhere to non-big bang ideas have pointed out that the big bang depends on the existence of a number of heretofore undiscovered entities, including dark matter and dark energy. Yet, like the discovery of CMBR, discovery of dark energy (if the latest results are being interpreted correctly), would not prove the big bang actually happened.

Summing up the meaning of CMBR, creationist astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle says, “The CMB is a lot like an inkblot test; what people ‘see’ in it is far more indicative of their own biases and assumptions than anything about the universe.”

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