Bird article on cosmology rebuffed: Cross posted from talk.origins / USENET Article by Bil

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Bird article on cosmology rebuffed: Cross posted from talk.origins / USENET Article by Bill Jeffereys Bird mentions in his article as having doubts about Big-bang cosmology are Alfven, Arp, Hoyle, Narlikar, Wickramasinge, and deVaucouleurs. Much of what Bird says is garbled, out of date, or just plain wrong. A case in point: my good friend for 25 years and colleague at the University of Texas, Gerard deVaucouleurs, does NOT, repeat NOT, dispute the Big-bang hypothesis. He has pioneered the study of hierarchical structure in the universe, and his farsighted ideas are now being confirmed by many other astronomers. Bird errs in believing that this somehow contradicts Big-bang cosmology. On the contrary, many astronomers believe that it contains crucial clues about the early stages of the Big Bang. I am not going to rebut these claims point-by-point; that would take too long and I haven't the time. I will say that I found Bird's article to be a hodgepodge of information, misinformation, obsolete information, and out-of-context quotations, quite typical of what we have come to expect and love :-) from the Creationist hierarchy...impressive on the surface if you aren't familiar with the issues, but in fact quite shallow (Bird is, after all, an attorney, and his profession is to be persuasive no matter how flimsy the evidence). I think that the books I have already suggested, as well as Strahler's _Science and Earth History_, give a substantially better view of the present state of cosmology than does Bird's article. Indeed, the article by Hugh Ross in the same issue of _Origins Research_ is much better written and more accurate than Bird's article (probably because Ross is a scientist with a Ph.D. degree in astronomy, whereas Bird has no scientific training). Bird uses the common Creationist tactic of quoting controversial or cautionary statements by various scientists to make it appear as if science--in this case, Big-bang cosmology--is in a state of disarray. Then--the fallacy goes--we have no choice but to become Creationists. But controversy is traditional in cosmology as in all science, and controversy between cosmologists does not support Creationism any more than controversy between Biblical scholars supports Atheism. In cosmology we pit different scientific models of the universe against each other. Unlike Creationism, all have observable consequences and are "at risk" of being proven wrong. In my opinion, among current cosmological models the Big-bang model best explains the available evidence. Nobel laureate Hannes Alfven is entitled to his opinion, but he is incorrect when he says that the 3-degree background radiation is the only evidence supporting the Big-bang model (see my recent posting and the readings I have suggested for other examples). Fred Hoyle once passionately believed in a steady-state universe, and may still believe in it; but the observational facts are strongly against it. Contrary to Bird's article, the only convincing explanation of the cosmic microwave background radiation so far is the primordial hypothesis. The other proposals all have serious flaws. I once thought the steady-state universe was a plausible hypothesis; this and other evidence has convinced me that it is no longer tenable. But in the end, Bird's arguments are quite irrelevant to the Creation/Evolution issue. The scientists whose work he misuses all agree that the universe is _at least_ 10-15 billion years old. How does this support Creationism? All agree that the solar system is 4-5 billion years old. How does this support Creationism? Some of them (Hoyle and company) have said that the universe _had no beginning_! How does this support Creationism? Bill Jeffreys (talk.origins / USENET)

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