Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another challenge to BICEP

Back in March of this year, news quickly spread that the Big Bang theory, or at least the inflationary model, had been proven.  The results from that study have yet to be published, however, and it seems that numerous questions and doubts have been cropping up since then.  Yesterday, Paul Steinhardt, professor of physics at Princeton University, wrote a piece in Nature magazine denouncing the hype surrounding the findings from the BICEP program.  Steinhardt pointed to a recent study from Princeton which claims that the BICEP findings could be attributed to interference from dust and other factors within our own galaxy, so it is not sufficient evidence to confirm inflation theory.  However, it should be noted that the Princeton study has also not yet been peer-reviewed and published, so the matter is not settled in the eyes of the scientific community.

Aside from the actual evidence, Steinhardt made another interesting claim about inflation and the Big Bang.  He said that, because some people will maintain the validity of inflation regardless of the accuracy of the BICEP results, the inflation model of the Big Bang is unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific.  Its close association with the multiverse theory potentially allows the model to account for any scientific finding.

I am inclined to agree with Steinhardt on that point.  Any model of origins, whether evolutionary or creationist in nature, is extremely difficult to test and may be fundamentally unfalsifiable via experimentation and observation.  Of course, this alone does not make them wrong; ‘unscientific’ does not mean ‘false.’  It just means that science cannot be used to prove them.  This may unsettle some people, because science has become so strongly associated with knowledge of truth in our culture.  Yet I will continue to profess my belief that science is not the sole source of knowledge accessible to us, for the Creator of the Universe and the Author of Truth has given us His Word as our guide to the world we live in.  I am therefore wary of making doctrine of the claims of man.

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