The following letter was not published by the conservative Skeptical Inquirer editors. The letter is in response to Victor J. Stenger's article "Anthropic Design: Does the Cosmos Show Evidence of Purpose?" Skeptical Inquirer Special Issue: Science and Religion, Conflict or Conciliation? July/August 1999.
Letters to the Editor
944 Deer Dr. NE
Albuquerque, NM 87122
Saturday, July 03, 1999
While we agree with and support Victor Stenger’s effort to show that there is no evidence for supernatural purpose or design of the cosmos, we do take issue with the assertion that the Big Bang model, with or without inflation, forms a naturalistic alternative.
Big Bang cosmology is fantastic in the extreme with underlying assumptions that in our opinion are not scientific. For example, “The uncaused origin and evolution of the universe.” The unscientific assumption here is that the universe is not infinite in space and time, but that it is finite and had an origin or beginning. The word creation is also used by many.
The proposal that the universe originated by way of a “random quantum fluctuation…from pure vacuum (“nothing”)” to our present universe is to us just another example of creationism rearing its head but in a modern more sophisticated form.
A truly naturalistic starting assumption that does not involve creation from nothing or violation of conservation of matter/energy begins with the assumption of infinity. A necessity of an infinite universe is that there is no cosmological expansion. Cosmological redshifts for the most part are indicators of distance, not velocity. This is in fact the interpretation Edwin Hubble found that the data favored. His words: “All of these data lead to the very simple conception of a sensibly infinite, homogeneous universe of which the observable region is an insignificant sample.” (See Edwin Hubble, “The Problem of the Expanding Universe,” American Scientist, Vol. 30, No. 2, 1942, pp. 98-115.)
As to what is the explanation of cosmological redshift if not from the “expansion of space” (another nonsensical notion) our answer is that we are not sure if any of the alternative proposals offered by others are correct, but that we feel more scientifically comfortable with an unknown or uncertain cosmological redshift mechanism than we do with the Big Bang creation model with all of its problems and ad hoc unproved solutions.
Paul Marmet, Ph.D.
Glenn Borchardt, Ph.D.
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