Richard J. Hanak
2002-Jun-18, 06:34 PM

Knowledge of the cosmos has evolved slowly. Every major advance in observation forced us to change our model of the cosmos. Any new model required a new theory to explain the latest observations. Those model changes were not small incremental improvements; they were usually major overturns of the whole model. Each of those models became the cosmological dogma of its time. Except for the latest model, all previous models have been totally replaced. Is the latest model right? Is it true to reality?

To judge and discern what is right or true, we need wisdom. Clarence Darrow wrote that “Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.” Let us investigate the current cosmological model, the expanding space-time model. That model and the theory of expanding space-time are used to explain the observed red shift of the Fraunhofer lines in the spectrum of light from galaxies, and the further observation that (with a few exceptions) the more distant the galaxy the greater the red shift.

Our investigation must begin with an understanding of what is entailed in the act of observation, and its consequences. When we observe a common day lily we see the green color of the leaves and the orange color of its flowers. Colors are attributes of things, whether those things are flowers or photons. Therefore, we cannot meaningfully impute properties or behavior to greenness itself. The notion of greenness is an abstraction we make from our observations of things having a color in common; it is an abstract idea. There is no such thing as greenness itself or color itself.

We could not have a notion of time if we did not have memory. Without memory we could not be aware that something we observe now is in some way different from what it was in the past. Observation of the cyclical rising of the sun gives us the measure of our day. The orbital motion of the Earth around the Sun determines the time duration of a year. The motions of our beating hearts determine a time duration approximating seconds. The vibratory motion of a quartz crystal controls the display of a quartz timepiece. Our concept of time is an abstraction we make from the motions of things. We cannot conceive of time spans without invoking the notion of change; and change arises only from the motion of things. As with greenness or color, we cannot meaningfully impute properties or behavior to time. Time is not a thing; it is an abstraction from things. There is no such thing as time itself.

All the things we observe have one property in common. They are all in some way separate from each other. That separation allows one thing to be distinguished from another. That separation allows us to know that some of the things we observe are not parts of ourselves and that there is a world outside of ourselves. Separation allows us to identify things. From the separations of things we abstract the concept of space. The meaning of space is intimately tied to things. We cannot conceive of space divorced from things. As with color and time, we cannot meaningfully impute properties or behavior to space. Space is not a thing; it is an abstraction from things. There is no such thing as space itself.

In formulating mathematical descriptions or geometric illustrations of some aspect of reality we deal only with some attributes of a thing, but not with all its attributes. Newton’s universal law of gravitation, for example, is concerned with the masses and separations of the objects subject to that law, not with their chemical compositions, colors, or ages. The fundamental role of science is to establish the relationships between attributes of things: the relationship between genes and the predisposition to certain illnesses, for example.

Geometry deals with notions such as points, lines, surfaces, and volumes, none of which exist independently in reality. Those notions, though things of the mind, are not things of reality; they are abstractions from reality. We cannot impute independent properties to them.

When we form an abstraction we search for something in common among a class of things, like the greenness of many kinds of tree leaves and grasses. In a similar way we can find a commonality between various abstractions. Our optical response to red, green, blue is what those colors have in common. Our notion of color, then, is an abstraction from a class of abstractions. Some of our abstractions are very far removed from our sensory inputs. They can be abstracted many levels deep.

When we use mathematical notation or graphic illustration to express some ideas involving time duration or spatial extension it is very easy to forget that we are dealing with abstractions. The variability of one mathematical term can suggest that another might also be variable. The shape of one line on a graph suggests that another line otherwise straight might have a different shape if properly displayed. That is possibly why the ideas of space-time and its expansion were conceived.

The notion of expanding space-time can be suspect since it imputes properties to space and time. Expansion is a property. It is reasonable for us to conceive of a balloon expanding as air fills it or the future expansion of the Sun as it becomes a red giant. Balloons and stars are real things, not abstractions from real things. However, it is not reasonable to think of time or space expanding; they are not real things; they are abstractions from real things. Abstractions have ideas in common but do not have independent properties.

Now we are ready to investigate the popular cosmological explanation of red shift of light from galaxies. According to that model, as a photon travels through expanding space-time its wavelength is stretched to a longer wavelength and the longer its travel time the more it is stretched. Stretching the wavelength (making the wavelength longer) shifts the wavelength of the light toward the red side of the spectrum. Since the time of travel is directly proportional to the distance traveled, the red shift is also in direct proportion to the distance traveled.

In view of what has been discussed above we should be immediately suspicious of the notion of expanding space-time. That notion relates space to time and imputes properties to both. Let us search for the inconsistencies or self-contradictions that should be hidden there.

The energy of a photon is the product of Plank’s constant and the velocity of light divided by the wavelength of the photon (E=hc/l). In that ratio the numerator (the product of two constants) is a constant. An increase in the denominator, the wavelength, requires a decrease in the energy of the photon. Whether in whole or in part, energy cannot simply vanish. Energy can be converted from one form to another but not annihilated. Violation of the conservation laws is implicit in the expanding space-time explanation of red shift of galaxies.

The velocity of a photon is equal to the ratio of its wavelength to its period (c=l/p), where the period is the time duration for the photon to complete one cycle of its electromagnetic oscillation. If only the wavelength were increased by expanding space-time, then the velocity of light would have to increase; but, that is a violation of relativity theory’s postulate that the velocity of light is constant and independent of all.

One more possibility remains: the proportional expansion of space and time. Under this possibility there are two cases. The first case would be that only the wavelengths and periods of photons are affected by space-time expansion. The second case would be that everything is affected.

If the wavelength and period of the photon alone were increased proportionally, the constancy of the velocity of light would be preserved but the conservation laws would be violated as described above. In the second case, where all things are affected, lengths and time durations would both be stretched. The stretching of lengths is easier to visualize then the stretching of time. However, the latter merely means that clocks run more slowly. Under that second case, meter-sticks get longer and clocks run slower in proportion to the expansion of space-time.

Then one old meter measures the same as one new meter; one old second measures the same as one new second; and one old meter per old second is exactly equal to one new meter per new second. Because our meter-sticks and clocks have stretched we cannot tell the difference between measurements we would have made 10 billion years ago and those we make now. The wavelength of light from a galaxy measured at any time from the time of its emission until now would always measure the same. It is our means of measurement that would have changed.

Finally, radiation is emitted when electrons change quantum levels. Those quantum levels relate to the orbital radii and angular velocities of the electrons of atoms and to the orientation of the spin vectors of those electrons. In expanding space-time even our measurements of the orbital radius, angular velocity, and spin vector energy of an electron would remain the same, just as would the wavelengths and periods of photons. If meter-sticks lengthen and clocks run slower as space-time expands, we can have no way to detect space-time’s past or present expansion. Any attribute for a model of the real world that is beyond detection should not be incorporated in the model; it can serve no purpose.

We have found that the model of expanding space-time causing the red shift of light from galaxies violates the conservation of energy, violates the constancy of the velocity of light, or self-contradictorily renders stretching of wavelength impossible to detect. Whatever application the notion of expanding space-time may have, it cannot be applied to explain the red shift of light from galaxies.



to read about the universe (that doesn’t expand) and much more.