Earlier than Expected: Galaxy Formation

I had intended to focus this series on fossil finds that were attributed to time periods that were earlier than previously expected, but now realize that the series needs to include a broader range of phenomena to encompass other findings that fall under the heading of gradualism and uniformitarianism. As an example, we find galaxies that are purported to have formed much earlier than previously expected.(1)

Researchers using the Subaru telescope in Hawaii have identified five distant galaxy clusters that formed five billion years after the Big Bang. They calculated the mass of the biggest galaxy in each of the clusters and found, to their surprise, that the ancient galaxies were roughly as big as the biggest galaxies in equivalent clusters in today’s Universe.

The ancient galaxies should have been much smaller, at only a fifth of today’s mass, based on galaxy-formation models that predict slow, protracted growth. “That was the reason for the surprise — that it disagrees so radically with what the predictions told us we should be seeing,” says Chris Collins of Liverpool John Moores University in Birkenhead, UK. Collins and his colleagues publish the work today in Nature.

The uniformitarian models had predicted that the galaxies would only be 20% of the observed size, yet the galaxies were found to be roughly as big as the biggest galaxies known to exist today. It seems like there may have been a bunny fossil found in the cosmological Cambrian period, but lets see how they’ll wiggle their way out of this one.

The work suggests that an earlier modelling result may have correctly posited a mechanism — a cold stream of star-nourishing hydrogen gas — by which these first massive galaxies grew so rapaciously. Taken together, the two results suggest that early galaxies grew quickly through injections of gas, rather than slowly through mergers. “We have a whole different story now about how galaxies form,” says Avishai Dekel of the Hebrew University in Israel and first author of the earlier paper.

How did they do? I’d say they did a good job of using their imagination (a gas injection from the imagination), but I don’t think they did so well in saving a uniformitarian model of galaxy formation. They at least make a prediction that could be discomfirmed/confirmed through future observation. In other words, they might be able to actually see the cold gas streams. I’ve got my fingers crossed. The point is, the time period for galaxy formation has also been reduced making things more complicated for uniformitarian models.

(1). Early galaxies surprise with size, Nature News, April 1, 2009

The Naturalistic Myth of Creation

Over at Atheism is Dead, there are two very well written recent posts on the creation myths of atheists by means of cosmology. They are fairly long posts, but worth the time to read.

In the Beginning… Cosmology, Part I – The Pre Big Bang Scenario
In the Beginning… Cosmology, Part II – Book, Chapter and Multi-Verse

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXV

Dark Flow

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, decide to share our latest discoveries. We know you will be impressed. We did discover that Dark Flow, that mysterious Dark Force that is causing cluster galaxies to move at an impossible 1000 kilometers/second, may tell us what lies beyond that cosmic horizon.(1) The cosmic horizon is 45 billion light years away. We did figure out that these clusters are moving at this incredible speed from looking at particle interactions with the cosmic microwave background (CMB), either that, or there is a fundamental problem with our cosmology (Praise Science). So we did get to wondering what could cause this Dark Flow. It can’t be invisible Dark Matter, because there is not enough of it in the universe (even though it’s invisible and unmeasurable, it makes up 95% of the mass of the universe). It can’t be Dark Energy (that unmeasurable force that is causing the expansion of the universe to accelerate), because it’s spread evenly throughout space.

The Multiverse

So, we did continue asking the question, and we came up with an answer (Praise Science and Ourselves), just as you knew we would. So, we got to thinking that something outside of our bubble must be tugging on these galaxies. And then we did get to thinking that perhaps the pre-existing patch of space-time before the Big Bang did result in lots of bubbles, with a universe in each (Praise Science and the Multiverse). We even coined a new phrase, “Eternal Inflation.” We already predicted you would like it, and yet again, our predictions were confirmed. Others of us think that our bubble might have crashed into another bubble shortly after popping into existence. Others just think the standard model of cosmology is  incorrect, but we’ll print that later in the article, and go back to focusing on more interesting things.

(1). Dark Flow: Proof of another Universe?

Enter "The Matrix": Reality is but a holographic projection

I thought about writing a Naturalistic Fairy Tale about this, but I have far too much material for future editions of that. We now turn to a recent claim of scientists, and that is “Our

Which will you choose?

Which will you choose?

world may be a giant hologram.”(1) Wow, break out your copies of The Matrix.

I think perhaps some of these physicists could team up with biologists to make the Red vs. the Blue pill. Which would you take?  I’ll go ahead and take the red pill to wake up from this false world of naturalistic fantasy. As an aside, I don’t think I noticed that prominent scar between Morpheus’ eyebrows previously.  I wonder what that means?

Let us consult the edges of the Universe. Seriously.  The folks set up a pretty expensive experiment to examine Einstein’s theoretical notion of gravity waves.  Little did they know, there was a glitch in The Matrix.

For many months, the GEO600 team-members had been scratching their heads over inexplicable noise that is plaguing their giant detector. Then, out of the blue, a researcher approached them with an explanation. In fact, he had even predicted the noise before he knew they were detecting it. According to Craig Hogan, a physicist at the Fermilab particle physics lab in Batavia, Illinois, GEO600 has stumbled upon the fundamental limit of space-time – the point where space-time stops behaving like the smooth continuum Einstein described and instead dissolves into “grains”, just as a newspaper photograph dissolves into dots as you zoom in. “It looks like GEO600 is being buffeted by the microscopic quantum convulsions of space-time,” says Hogan.

So far so good? How about this?

If this doesn’t blow your socks off, then Hogan, who has just been appointed director of Fermilab’s Center for Particle Astrophysics, has an even bigger shock in store: “If the GEO600 result is what I suspect it is, then we are all living in a giant cosmic hologram.”

Have I ever told you that I love Sci-Fi? That’s a rhetorical question, I know I have. But, right now I’m absolutely itching to watch The Matrix again (By the way, the first one is by far the best). So, supposedly, according to this theory, the edges of the spherical universe are amplified somehow so that the tiniest aspects of time are observable in the interior of the Universe. This has been previously thought to be well beyond the realm of possibility.

The “holographic principle” challenges our sensibilities. It seems hard to believe that you woke up, brushed your teeth and are reading this article because of something happening on the boundary of the universe. No one knows what it would mean for us if we really do live in a hologram, yet theorists have good reasons to believe that many aspects of the holographic principle are true.

I know what it means, I want the Red Pill right now. I just hope I don’t wake up at the edge of the Universe with no oxygen. Supposedly, they are upgrading their detector gadget, and this will help them to know if we really are in a giant hologram. This will also allegedly allow them to possibly falsify other theories associated with string theory (you know, more unmeasurable/unobservable aspects of the Universe). They do all the usual disclaimers about how this is very preliminary (so that you do not think they are completely crazy), and say that “more research is needed.” Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with watching The Matrix.

Hogan agrees that if the holographic principle is confirmed, it rules out all approaches to quantum gravity that do not incorporate the holographic principle. Conversely, it would be a boost for those that do – including some derived from string theory and something called matrix theory. “Ultimately, we may have our first indication of how space-time emerges out of quantum theory.” As serendipitous discoveries go, it’s hard to get more ground-breaking than that. (emphasis added)

Oh, I almost forgot, they like a 5 dimensional view of the Universe,(2) but noted it may be shaped like a Pringle. Even better!

(1). Our world may be a giant hologram, New Scientist
(2). The Five Dimensions: A Creation Science Cosmology Theory

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXIV

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, discover that we may soon be able to look back before the Big Bang happened (praise Science).(1) We’ll go ahead and use the word “before” even though time did not exist, and please do not worry about it, because you would become confused anyway.  Because of the appearance of lopsidedness in the Universe, we do now think we can catch a glimpse of what existed before the Big Bang.

Indeed, when we did look in one direction in the Universe, we did notice that it looked different than looking in another direction.  We did notice that the Cosmic Microwave Background, seemed to be strangely larger on one side of the Universe.  We did development a new model as a result, and it gave us a glimpse of that inflationary period when the Universe almost instantaneously ballooned from the size of an atom to the size of a golf ball (praise Science).  Our theory did predict an even distribution in the CMB, but that is not what we have been seeing.  So we do now admit that things may have been a tiny bit more complex than previously thought.

So, we do now introduce the notion of two fields (inflaton and curvation).  We can now explain these variations.  Inflaton did cause the rapid expansion of the Universe and its energy variations, and curvation did cause density variations.

So we do now say:

“It’s no longer completely crazy to ask what happened before the Big Bang,” Kamionkowski said. “All of that stuff is hidden by a veil, observationally. If our model holds up, we may have a chance to see beyond this veil.”

Whereas it was completely crazy that some of our Own did previously ask what came before the Big Bang, we can now ask this question from a position of utter sanity and rationality (praise Science).  We’ll end by hedging our bets:

“So far it seems to be in the data, but that doesn’t mean it’s in the universe,” Carroll told SPACE.com. “There’s a chance this asymmetry is coming from errors in the data.”

So, we may go back to believing what we did before, and continue asking what now appears to be “crazy” if we do find that we have a problem with our data.  But, you should now know, that it will not be crazy then (praise Science).

(1). Glimpse before the Big Bang may be possible, MSNBC

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XX

And then did we, Most High Scientists, run a computer simulation of the universe back many billions of years in time.  We do know you are impressed by computer simulations (praise Science).  We hope you will forget we cannot predict the weather of this planet very well more than a few days ahead.  We shall, however, present our most recent simulation and we know you will be convinced, because facts are facts.

Thus, as we did run the simulation back in time, the universe did bounce.  We did not find the singularity that we previously said was true, in favor of the now, possibly, real truth.   Because of Loop Quantum Cosmology, did we discover that there was no singularity “before” the big bang (before time existed).  So, we do now assert an infinite recycling of the universe that colapses only to a certain point, expands and then collapses again.  We hope you’ll ignore that silly research that suggests that the current incarnation of the universe will never collapse, because we don’t have to worry about those silly issues that the ID proponents do bandy about.

Bojowald’s major realisation was that unlike general relativity, the physics of LQC did not break down at the big bang. Cosmologists dread the singularity because at this point gravity becomes infinite, along with the temperature and density of the universe. As its equations cannot cope with such infinities, general relativity fails to describe what happens at the big bang. Bojowald’s work showed how to avoid the hated singularity, albeit mathematically. “I was very impressed by it,” says Ashtekar, “and still am.” (1)

Do please ignore that we have not expressed our hatred for the singularity publicly.  We do not like to dissent from known facts in that way.  We do like to dissent from our own views only when we have a better naturalistic explanation (praise Science).

Through our cunning combination of Einstein’s (very very smart fellow) theory of gravity with quantum mechanics our computers were able to discern the nature of the “beginning.”  Please do not look up the dictionary definition of tangible (2).

We did hope that the singularity would disappear, and, praise Science it has.  But don’t look for it to disappear any time soon.  We like the sound of the words Big Bang, and will continue liking it (praise Science).

(1). http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026861.500-did-our-cosmos-exist-before-the-big-bang.html

(2). http://www.onelook.com/?w=tangible&ls=a

Even the Unmeasurable Points to Design

IT’S not just the nature of dark matter that’s a mystery – even its abundance is inexplicable. But if our universe is just one of many possible universes, at least this conundrum can be explained.(1)

Indeed. It’s a conundrum for an anti-design perspective. From an ID and theological perspective, it’s not surprising that even the quantity of this material points to design. The notion from the anti-design perspective is that “common sense doesn’t work.” Fine. Sometimes it doesn’t. But, I don’t think people even have to rely on “common sense” to support a design perspective. You can rely on logic, philosophy, and scientific reasoning to support a design perspective. It just happens that these perspectives can also correspond with “common sense.” The same cannot be said for an anti-design perspective.

The total amount of dark matter – the unseen stuff thought to make up most of the mass of the universe – is five to six times that of normal matter. This difference sounds pretty significant, but it could have been much greater, because the two types of matter probably formed via radically different processes shortly after the big bang. The fact that the ratio is so conducive to a life-bearing universe “looks like a tremendous coincidence”, says Raphael Bousso at the University of California, Berkeley.

It does look like a “tremendous coincidence.” Thankfully, purely naturalistic scientists have an out. Of course it can’t be verified. Of course it can’t be measured. But it doesn’t start with a “g” or even a “G.” Therefore, it makes rational sense, and is science.

Freivogel focused on one of the favoured candidate-particles for dark matter, the axion. Axions have the right characteristics to be dark matter, but for one problem: a certain property called its “misalignment angle”, which would have affected the amount of dark matter produced in the early universe. If this property is randomly determined, in most cases it would result in a severe overabundance of dark matter, leading to a universe without the large-scale structure of clusters of galaxies. To result in our universe, it has to be just the right value.

In a multiverse, each universe will have a random value for the axion’s misalignment angle, giving some universes the right amount of dark matter needed to give rise to galaxies, stars, planets and life as we know it.

Praise Science that they have an alternative explanation. “So what?” if it is unmeasurable, untestable, and unfalsifiable. It doesn’t involve any kind of “G” word (a scientific explicative). It sounds good, and appeals to Science Fiction; therefore, it’s science.

(1) http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20026854.800-universes-dark-matter-mix-is-just-right-for-life.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news