Does Webb Violate the Big Bang Paradigm?

Does Webb Violate the Big Bang Paradigm?

Photo: James Webb Space Telescope, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Last weekend, I said – regardless of the implications for the Big Bang – that it was obvious that the James Webb Space Telescope had shaken up astronomy. to american scientist, science writer Jonathan O’Callaghan seems to agree:

In the weeks and months following JWST’s discoveries of surprisingly mature “early” galaxies, theorists and casual observers alike scrambled to explain them. Could the number of abnormally large and bright early galaxies be illusory, perhaps due to flaws in the analysis of the original telescope observations? If they are genuine, could they somehow be explained by standard cosmological models? Or, perhaps, were these the first hints that the universe is stranger and more complex than even our wildest theories have assumed?

At stake is nothing less than our understanding of how the ordered universe as we know it arose out of primordial chaos. JWST’s early revelations may be poised to rewrite the first chapters of cosmic history, looking not only at distant ages and distant galaxies, but also our own existence here in the familiar Milky Way. “You’re building these machines not to confirm the paradigm, but to break it,” says JWST scientist Mark McCaughrean, senior advisor for science and exploration at the European Space Agency. “You just don’t know how it’s going to break.”

JONATHAN O’CALLAGHAN“JWST’s FIRST FINDINGS of early galaxies could shatter cosmology” at SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (SEPTEMBER 14, 2022)

McCaughrean may not be exaggerating:

The most striking explanation is that the canonical LCDM cosmological model is wrong and needs revision. “These results are very surprising and difficult to obtain in our standard model of cosmology,” [Michael] says Boylan-Kolchin. “And it’s probably not small change. We should go back to the drawing board.”

JONATHAN O’CALLAGHAN“JWST’s FIRST FINDINGS of early galaxies could shatter cosmology” at SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (SEPTEMBER 14, 2022)

“Revolutionary changes” ahead?

That’s why those who always doubted the Big Bang were suddenly heard. Others have been quick to defend it, pointing out that—as an origin theory—it depends on a wealth of evidence that JWST is not designed to evaluate. At the very least, we are promised “revolutionary changes”.

These changes are not just about science. There is a lot of culture and philosophy embedded in the Big Bang Theory as we understand it. Yes we do you thinking of the popular sitcom (2007–2019) of that name:

On a more serious note, however, neurosurgeon Michael Egnor disputes with philosopher David Papineau whether the Big Bang is a natural event. Robert J. Marks considers the math behind Sheldon’s theory that in no universe would he dance with Penny—and concludes that Sheldon may be right. And astrobiologist Caleb Scharf offers a Big Bang-based argument for free will.

Read the rest at Mind Matters Newspublished by the Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.

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