It seems the news is buzzing with the latest reports from NASA. Many people have been asking about these reports, so we present here a preliminary response to be followed with a more detailed report.
The latest reports are once again shouting that the big bang is a historical reality. That’s what Alan MacRobert declares in the article Mapping the Big Bang in Sky and Telescope. He says that the NASA report “has powerfully confirmed the conclusions that many teams of astronomers had already reached”. But confirming what people already know doesn’t sound like big news. MacRobert says exactly that: “The big news is actually no news”.
But confirming what people already know doesn’t sound like big news.
NASA has released the first years” results from a satellite, 1.5 million kilometres from Earth. Called the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP, the satellite measures the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) from space. There is no doubt that this is a remarkable achievement.
The oval coloured map represents the whole sky, like the spherical Earth is represented as an oval on a sheet of paper. Different parts of the map relate to different parts of the sky. Different colours represent variations in the CMB with “warmer” as red and “cooler” as blue (but the differences are really tiny).
Overall, this information is not new. Similar maps have been produced before from instruments measuring CMB from the ground and from balloons, and from its predecessor, the COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) satellite. The WMAP results, however, are more precise and cover the whole of the sky.
Neither is NASA telling a new story about the CMB. CMB has long been touted as confirming the big bang, the age of the universe, its composition, geometry, its ultimate fate, and so on. But those assertions don’t come from the measurements. They are based on an enormous number of philosophical assumptions. Of these claims creationist physicist, John Hartnett says, “In short, the big bang is first assumed to be true and they adjust their parameters to get the theory to fit the data. Because of this circular reasoning, it would be a miracle if it did not ‘confirm’ the big bang.”
Furthermore, the unbelievably small irregularities in the CMB are interpreted as seeds for galaxy formation—there is no proof, or plausible mechanism.
A review of CMB data by Dr John Hartnett was published in TJ in early 2001.1 The big picture has not changed since then. In that report Dr Hartnett showed that CMB actually poses problems for the big bang and supports creationist cosmologies. One problem is that the CMB seems to indicate a preferred frame of reference, contrary to the basic assumption behind the big bang. Another is that the total mass density of the universe inferred observationally does not agree with the mass calculated from big bang theory. And this latest NASA report even said that the stars formed earlier (by their own dating methods) than previously predicted. Then there is the fact that the CMB is very smooth, contrary to big bang predictions. And so on. Creationist cosmology models do not have these problems.
So, have NASA really discovered the big bang is a reality as is so loudly proclaimed? No. They are just asserting it again. Nothing has changed.