Book Review:

The Cosmic Revolutionary's Handbook

(Or: How to Beat the Big Bang)

Luke A. Barnes, Geraint F. Lewis

Review by L. Marmet

  This handbook is an introduction to cosmology, similar to other books that have been written in the field.  But it has the added twist of some hint at a Cosmological Revolution!  Australian astronomers Barnes and Lewis write an acrimonious rebuttal to ‘spherical’ ignorants who think they can revolutionize cosmology without learning physics or astronomy.  Indeed, there are hundreds of crackpots who continually waste everybody's time on worthless ideas.  The authors' advice to the revolutionary?  Learn physics and publish your revolutionary idea in refereed journals.

  Few cosmologists will want to admit this, but the Big Bang model is in desperate need of a revolution.  Serious crises are threatening modern cosmology, starting with the Hubble tension which exposes an inconsistency on the most fundamental assumption of expansion cosmology!  Then comes the lithium problem, the sigma-eight tension, mature galaxies seen too early after the Big Bang, ‘cosmologists would dump the dark components in a moment’, ‘the physics of inflation is poorly understood’, and the Big Bang model does not even pass the criteria of the twelve ‘Theoretical Values’ listed in the book...

  So yes, pleeeease, put the Big Bang out of its own misery and let's have a revolution!

  Here is the problem: behind this revolutionary book hides two astrophysicists who don't want real change. This is obvious from the unrealistic expectations they have for a potential revolutionary theory.  The new theory must explain all astronomical observations, and it must have ‘survived testing by new experiments and new data’.   Never in history have revolutionary theories satisfied these criteria.  Barnes and Lewis, like most cosmologists, only want to take small steps.  They think that ‘a small correction to our ideas’ can be enough, or that ‘a small change will naturally and neatly explain’ unresolved issues.

  Playing it safe by changing a few parameters, tweaking general relativity or adding a few more particles won't be enough: the Big Bang model needs a real paradigm shift comparable in magnitude to the Copernican Revolution.  If you are a real revolutionary, you will have done your homework, you will have learned physics and you will know your enemy.  If you are a real revolutionary, you won't learn much from this book.

  Real revolutions are messy. "A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it" declared Max Planck.

  So watch out mates, a rival will fall: Big Bang cosmology. "Science progresses one funeral at a time", for 'tis the sport to have the cosmologist hoist with his own petard!

Posted 2020-8-24

© 2020-2022 Louis Marmet