The tangential model

30 08 2008

Everybody knows that the Big Bang is an established fact.  Well, today’s students are not much encouraged to think beyond that idea.  This is unfortunate, because much of what is taught about the origins of the universe is not scientific at all.  Before we go shooting our audience in the foot, let’s examine the principle of the Big Bang:

According to the Big Bang, all matter in the universe originated from a single point [C] and blasted outward from there.  For our purposes, let’s call this radial expansion, because that’s exactly what it is.  What they will tell us is that if they can prove that the universe is expanding, then they have conclusively proven the Big Bang.  In fact, the evidence generally does demonstrate that the universe is expanding, but one does not have to look beyond one’s nose to see that they have proven nothing.  Sure, they set the stage and acted the part, so when they find the evidence that they claimed they’d find we all shake in our boots and worship their intellect.  However, if the Big Bang, by chance, did not happen to be true, then what would be the case instead?  This is important to ask, because not considering the alternatives means coming to a conclusion prematurely and being stubbornly wrong.  Here’s a model of the universe if their radial model just happened to be wrong:

In this picture we have the various parts of the universe all located at any point and traveling in any direction.  The previous model, the radial model, works from only one starting point and the parts of the universe travel in all directions, so it only explains one possible scenario.  However, this model is good for almost anything else.  We’ll call it the tangential model.  In this example, particle x may initially travel nearer to the center [C], but in the long run it will travel far away from it.  Particle y, though not traveling directly away from C still gains distance from it with every second.  Particle z just happens to be traveling directly away from the center [C].  The principle is the same as what happens if a person is lost in the woods and panics: any direction other than the right one will only take you away from where you need to be.  So, too, if every object in the universe is not headed directly for the center, where they might collide at exactly the same instant, then they will all go away from the center, ultimately.

   Zooming away from the previous picture ten times gives us this picture (above), which shows us the same thing with a little more time added in.  Relatively speaking, the particles’ points of origin appear to be closer together, and their paths of travel appear to be more radial-like.  Given enough time, it will look very much like the radial model.  However, it will never be a Big Bang, because they did not start at the exact same point.

Getting back to the radial (Big Bang) model, here we have a generalization of the size of the universe over time.  Technically speaking, the slope decreases slightly with time, given the collective gravitational force, but for our purposes the theoretical model is simpler to work with.  In this case, every object is flying away from the center at a constant speed (slope), so the universe expands more or less evenly with time.  This gives us a basically straight line for a function of size (radius, to be exact) versus time.  Einstein was hopelessly vexed at a certain problem, though, that the universe is, in fact, not expanding linearly.  As measured, it is expanding at an increasing rate.  He tried to add a meaningless coefficient into the equation to account for this, but he never had an explanation for it.  Conveniently, the alternative model fits this evidence perfectly:

This is an overview of a universe with the tangential model.  It starts at some unknown size and gradually begins to expand.  With time, its expansion becomes more and more rapid as the various parts begin to move in a more and more radial-like path, traveling ever more directly away from the center.  The shape of this function is essentially one half of a parabola.  The exact starting size of the universe can be anything, and the shape of the curve can vary greatly, depending on how the particles were set in motion to begin with.  None of these factors have to be anything in particular.  That’s the beauty of this model; it works for just about anything.  It’s like the difference between having only perfectly square continents with perfectly straight rivers, versus having continents shaped any way at all and rivers winding any way they like.  Now, let us consider what would happen if the tangential model were true and the Big Bang theorists insisted on pounding this round peg into their square hole.

 Here we have the above, tangential curve, shifted over to the right to give ourselves some room.  “T = 0” is the true starting time of the universe.  If we were living in an older universe, at point a, then the “scientists” would see the speed of expansion and extrapolate back to point x as the starting time of the universe.  It would really be older than they thought.  In a younger universe [b], those same geniuses would think that the universe started at point y, but the universe would actually be much younger.  Let’s say, just for our own amusement, that the universe was very young [c].  Then they would say that the universe was billions of years older than it really was, and they’d be so far off that it would be hilarious.

 So, how old do they say the universe is?  Sixteen billion years old, to be precise.  Well, “precise” is a gross exaggeration, but that’s exactly how they present it.  It happened that two teams of scientists, unbeknownst to each other, happened to be comparing the speed at which stars are moving away from us to the distance they are from us in order to determine the exact age of the universe.  Both published their papers within weeks of each other.  Had this not happened, they might have collaborated and produced a wild piece of prevarication and told us it was all precisely true.  Instead, one team determined that the universe was eleven billion years old, and the other said it was twenty billion years old.  That’s one heck of a margin of error.  I would have gotten an F in physics if I had tried to report a number like that.  That kind of discrepancy is to be expected with the tangential model, but they weren’t using the tangential model.  Their model, the radial one, demands a perfect match.  It is true that the properties of the tangential model hyperbolically approach those of the radial one with time, but in the early years of the universe there would be quite a bit of difference between one star and the next.  What they demonstrated was a younger universe.  One might also ask what heavenly bodies they were looking at.  They weren’t looking at the sun, because that isn’t flying away from us.  They weren’t looking at the meteorites, which actually collide with us.  They must have excluded the planets and every star in our galaxy, which are not speeding away from us.  In fact, they had to ignore every single orbiting relationship in the universe, because the Big Bang could never produce a single orbit.  That’s okay, because it’s not like there are any orbiting bodies in outer space, right?  Right!?  Okay, so outer space is full of orbiting relationships between celestial bodies.  So, what the heck were they looking at, anyway?  They selectively looked at stars in other galaxies and only at their relative speed and distance to us. They excluded everything else.  How nice.

 Occam’s razor, in a nutshell, states that the simplest explanation is usually the best.  Because the tangential model works for most situations, it becomes the simplest explanation.  The radial (Big Bang) theory can only be true if certain conditions are met perfectly.  Therefore, as a rule of thumb, one should consider the tangential model first.  So why don’t they?  That’s really a matter for the psychologists; people like to have their understanding complete and orderly.  It gives a sense of comfort.  With the Big Bang, all history culminates at a single point and then it’s done.  There’s nothing further to consider.  All loose ends are tied up neatly.  With the tangential model, all history begins at some entirely unknown state of existence, at only a very vague time period, and even if they could determine when the universe was started and what it was like at the time, there would still be more loose ends than they would know what to do with.  In the beginning, there would be an ordered universe suddenly springing into existence as though put there by God himself.  That’s what they don’t like.




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