The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) did not disprove the big bang, although an article about a pseudoscientific theory that went viral in August and mischaracterized a quote from an astrophysicist to make the big bang didn’t An error statement occurred.
Although James Webb Space Telescope In just a few months of scientific action, it has already made some landmark discoveries, including discovering what could be some of the earliest galaxies ever seenExisting only after 200 million years big Bang. Although problems with calibrating the instrument may mean some of these galaxy Not as far off as initially thought, JWST almost certainly broke some of these records.
“JWST is about finding the earliest galaxies in the universe,” University of Kansas astrophysicist Allison Kirkpatrick told Space.com. “One of the things it found was that these galaxies were probably bigger than we thought, and the other surprising thing was that it revealed a lot of structure in these galaxies that we thought were not so good so early did organize universe. “
related: History of the Universe: From the Big Bang to the Present in 10 Simple Steps
cosmologyThe Standard Model of The first galaxy formed through a layering process that involves small clouds of gas and Star clump together to form larger newborn galaxies. In JWST’s observations, these early galaxies appear to have evolved a little more than expected, an interesting astrophysical puzzle that confounds current models of galaxy growth.
nature (opens in new tab) On July 27, Kirkpatrick wrote an article about the study, in which Kirkpatrick said: “Now I find myself waking up at three in the morning wondering if everything I’ve done is wrong. “It was this phrase that was later abused.
“That’s a great offer!” Kirkpatrick said. “I try to be a very blunt person, and I mean what I say – everything I’ve learned about the first galaxies based on previous telescope data may not be the complete picture, now we have more data , so we can improve our theory.”
Kirkpatrick went back to her studies and forgot her quote. It wasn’t until mid-August that she got a text from a friend saying that an article — originally published by an organization called the Institute for Arts and Minds, but now republished on mainstream news sites — said JWST had a lot to say about the distant Observing galaxies refutes the Big Bang, which is incorrect.
To make matters worse, the article quotes what Kirkpatrick told Nature and abuses it out of context to give the false impression that astrophysicists are panicking at the idea that the Big Bang theory is wrong.
The author of this article, an independent researcher named Eric Lerner, who has been a serial Big Bang denier since the late 1980s, prefers his personal pseudoscientific alternative.
“I saw it and thought ‘This is horrible, but it’s also nonsense, no one’s going to read this,'” Kirkpatrick said. “The next thing I know, everyone has seen it!”
For Kirkpatrick, things started to get tense. Although her immediate friends and colleagues knew her well enough to know she had been misquoted, acquaintances from further afield began to contact, asking if she had really said it, and even questioning her sanity. Then there were emails from the various people who read the article and believed it, dozens of which were cluttering her inbox. People even called her number.
“I didn’t contact anyone and I didn’t want to be involved,” she said. “It upsets me because there are a lot of people who are very interested in science, but they don’t distinguish between factual and fictional backgrounds, and they read things like this and think it’s true.”
deny the secrets of science
To Lee McIntyre, a philosopher of science at Boston University and author of the book, none of this comes as a surprise. How to Talk to a Science Denier (opens in new tab) (MIT Press, 2021).
McIntyre is keen to point out the difference between those who deliberately tout anti-scientific narratives and those who believe it because they don’t know.While researching his book, McIntyre spent days talking to believers at a flat-earth convention and getting a better understanding of Methods used by science deniers Regardless of the topic at hand.
6 ways to avoid falling victim to science deniers:
1. Check the source – is it from a reputable source such as a peer-reviewed journal or a mainstream news site?
2. Qualifications – Is the author a university or reputed institution author, or an unaccredited “independent researcher”?
3. Who else agrees – can you find other accredited experts from mainstream institutions who agree, or at least provide some validity?
4. References – Did the authors complete their study and cite other reliable studies to support their results?
5. Follow logic – are they just picking the evidence and leaving what fits their narrative?
6. Become an expert – If all else fails and you’re still unsure, do some open reading on the topic to make sure you’re not being misled.
“The first step in denying science is picking the evidence,” McIntyre told Space.com. “The second is that they lie about conspiracy theories. The third is that they engage in illogical reasoning. The fourth is that they rely on fake experts and discredit real experts. Fifth, they insist that science must be perfect to be credible.”
McIntyre said the strategy employed in Lerner’s article is a classic misdirection used by science deniers. For example, Lerner used logical fallacies such as suggesting that in the Big Bang model more distant galaxies should appear larger because in an expanding Universe, their light should have left as they got closer to us. This premise makes absolutely no sense – they were the furthest galaxies when their light left them, and they’re still the furthest now, so they shouldn’t appear larger with distance.
He also picks data, such as completely ignoring other evidence of the Big Bang, such as cosmic microwave background, which is the residual heat of the event. He exaggerated the real data to suggest that the unexpected features of these early galaxies were not only a big problem with models of galaxy formation, but, he wrote, ruled out cosmology as a whole. He discredited real scientists by deliberately misusing their words and claimed there was a conspiracy between “government-funded committees” to dismantle any heretical ideas that dared to question the Big Bang.
Denial of science is a growing problem. While science denial has been around as long as science, it seems to have become more common in recent years, perhaps encouraged by social media.While some choose not to believe that the Big Bang will not lead to the disintegration of society, other examples of science denial are not so mild: for example, not believing that vaccines have caused millions of people to die needlessly around the world Coronavirus diseasewhile denial of climate change hinders legislation to fight the planet global temperature rise.
“Science denial is getting worse because it now poses a greater threat to the well-being of our society,” McIntyre said. “Denialism costs lives.”
Kirkpatrick agrees with McIntyre’s line of thinking. “In this case, if someone thinks the big bang didn’t happen, that’s pretty benign, but you’re going to see the same thing on things that really matter, like the COVID vaccine and climate change,” she said. Starting to get all these conspiracy theories in astronomy, if people are willing to believe that, does that make them more willing to believe other conspiracy theories?”
victim of lies
McIntyre admits that engaging with science deniers is difficult because their instinct is not to believe what experts or authorities tell them. Scientists are tempted not to respond to them and hope they will go away, but McIntyre thinks it’s a mistake: They won’t go away.
“If we ignore it, that’s one of the worst things we can do, because if we don’t engage and refute, they’ll just recruit more believers, and it could get out of hand,” McIntyre said. However, if you want to win over the science deniers, you first need to get them to trust you, which is really hard.
“As far as I know, the only people who change their minds do it because someone they trust takes the time, with as much love and empathy as possible, to make them realize they’re wrong,” McIntyre said. “It requires realizing that most science deniers are victims. I’m not talking about the Eric Lerner of the world, I’m talking about people who believe in him.”
Astronomers are indeed one step ahead of many other scientists because public outreach is an important part of an astronomer’s job, and the stunning images captured by JWST truly amaze people. Astronomers are able to engage with the public in a way that is more difficult for researchers in some other fields of science, and to see science in a human way.
“While trust in science is clearly eroding, when it comes to astronomy, we do take public outreach seriously, so I think astronomers are still some of the more trusted scientists,” Kirkpatrick said.
The big bang must have happened
Meanwhile, astronomers continue to learn more about the early universe through the fantastic data provided by JWST.
Ironically, the JWST observations actually support the Big Bang model, showing that the first galaxies became smaller and smaller over time, as predicted by Big Bang cosmology. Surprisingly, galaxies in the early universe were more abundant and larger in mass and structure than expected, but that doesn’t mean the Big Bang was wrong. It just means that some cosmology after the Big Bang needs some tweaking.
That’s the joy of science. Despite the arguments from Lerner and other science deniers, science is never one size fits all. We are always learning, always improving our theories, and not having a shady conspiracy to try to wipe out independent minds. Above all, science is based on observation and evidence, big bang in barrel.
This is not to say that people should not be allowed to question things, but that intelligent questioning is done within the framework of an open mind, without preconceived ideologies, and beliefs are formed by evidence, not the other way around. That’s exactly what the big bang theory was conceived of nearly a century ago: by following the (then surprising) evidence that the universe was expanding, figure out what this might logically mean, and then work on predictions such as the existence of CMB radiation test.
So, next time you read someone saying the big bang didn’t happen, or Earth is flat, or climate change isn’t happening, don’t take for granted what they’re talking about. Politely ask for evidence from them and keep it to the highest standard, just like a scientist.
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