A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

The predominant cosmic creation model is a hot big bang creation model known as the ΛCDM model. The hot big bang refers to the universe being infinitely or near infinitely hot at its beginning and therefore cooling as it expands. The ΛCDM refers to the primary components of the universe. The Greek lambda (Λ) in ΛCDM is a cosmological constant that refers to dark energy. CDM refers to cold dark matter, that is, exotic dark matter where nearly all the exotic matter particles are moving at velocities very much below the velocity of light. Together, ΛCDM designates what most astronomers are convinced are the two major components of the universe (dark energy and cold dark matter).

The ΛCDM cosmic creation model, however, is not without competition. In 1983, astronomers developed a countermodel known as MOND (modified Newtonian dynamics). In MOND, Newton’s laws of motion are modified from a pervasive inverse square law where the force of gravity between two massive bodies, regardless of the separation distance, weakens with the square of the distance separating the two bodies. In MOND, the inverse square law applies where the distance separating the two bodies is less than about ten thousand light-years, but a different law applies for much greater separation distances. Where the distance between two bodies is more than several tens of thousands of light-years, the force of gravity between two massive bodies weakens with the distance separating the bodies. Exactly at what separation distance the inverse square law transitions to just an inverse law is still an active subject of inquiry. 

What birthed the MOND model was that ever since the 1970s, astronomers have observed that stars in the outer parts of large spiral galaxies orbit the central cores of these galaxies at rates much faster than they would if the visible matter in the galaxies alone were responsible for the gravity pulling on these stars. MOND solves this problem by proposing that stars in the outer parts of large spiral galaxies obey an inverse law of Newtonian dynamics while stars in the inner parts of these galaxies obey an inverse square law of Newtonian dynamics.

Most astronomers, however, preferred to solve the problem of fast-moving stars in the outer parts of large spiral galaxies by proposing that in addition to the universe containing ordinary matter (matter that strongly interacts with light) it also contains exotic dark matter (matter that does not or very weakly interacts with light). To adequately solve the fast-moving outer orbit stars, however, the ratio of exotic matter mass to ordinary matter mass needed to be nearly six to one.

Where MOND had beat out ΛCDM is that it perfectly predicted the velocities of outer galactic orbit stars whereas ΛCDM came close (but not perfectly close) to predicting these velocities.1 Everywhere else where the predictions of MOND and ΛCDM could be compared, ΛCDM won and MOND failed to even come close. For example, MOND could not explain the orbits of galaxies in clusters of galaxies without introducing exotic matter, albeit MOND only needed one-fifth as much exotic matter as the ΛCDM model. Where MOND failed spectacularly is that it cannot explain the patterns seen in the most detailed maps of the cosmic microwave background radiation (the radiation remaining from the cosmic creation event) or in the largest and most detailed maps of galaxy clusters and galaxies. These maps2 establish the following ingredients making up the universe:

  1. dark energy                            70.7%
  2. exotic matter                         24.68%
  3. ordinary matter                    4.66%
  4. relativistic particles             0.0085%
  5. gravity wave energy            <0.000017% li="">

Another observational proof is that MOND gets the wrong abundance value for exotic matter in a study of a pair of galaxy clusters colliding with one another. The two colliding galaxy clusters together are known as the Bullet Cluster. Here, astronomers used gravitational lensing to map the exotic dark matter. The MOND model predicted that the exotic matter would be centered on the visible matter. The ΛCDM model predicted that the exotic matter would be considerably offset from the visible matter. What astronomers measured was the offset predicted by the ΛCDM model.3

MOND also performs poorly in predicting the dynamics of stars in globular clusters.4 It even fails to predict the dynamics of stars in dwarf and small spiral galaxies.5 The bottom line is that the only thing MOND has going for it is its unique success in predicting the velocities of distantly orbiting stars in large spiral galaxies.

Now, a team of eight theoreticians has demonstrated that this success is no longer unique. They show that the ΛCDM model can do just as good a job in predicting the velocities of these stars.6 The key, the team of eight pointed out, is for there to exist some level of gravitational interplay between exotic and ordinary matter.

That being the case, the size of exotic dark matter halos will correlate with that of the galaxy that forms within it. Then, presuming that correlation and the ΛCDM cosmic creation model are correct, the team calculated predicted velocities for distantly orbiting stars spanning a wide range of spiral galaxy sizes. Their predicted velocity values matched observed velocity values for the full range of spiral galaxy sizes.

One caveat is that the MOND model still delivers slightly better fits for the relevant distantly orbiting stars, but the fits are only slightly better. However, the team of eight and other astrophysicists are confident that these tiny discrepancies will disappear as simulations of the tricky interactions between exotic and ordinary matter improve.

These astrophysicists have also proposed an observational way forward. The same team of eight and two other theoreticians have just published a paper in which they show how the detection and characterization of reionization-limited neutral hydrogen clouds in the Local Group of galaxies would provide “a unique probe of the small scale clustering of CDM.”7

How do these new advances affect the case for the biblically predicted cosmic creation event? While both MOND and ΛCDM are cosmic creation models, MOND’s challenge to ΛCDM had cast some doubt on the detailed reliability of the ΛCDM model. That doubt has now been removed. The velocities of distantly orbiting stars around the central cores of large spiral galaxies is no longer a problem or an anomaly for the ΛCDM model. The spectacular success of the ΛCDM cosmic creation model in predicting in detail the features seen in maps of the cosmic background radiation and of the universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters now stand without any known unresolved anomalies.

The foundation of the ΛCDM cosmic creation model is the biblically predicted big bang universe—a universe that expands under unchanging laws of physics from a space-time beginning where one of the physical laws is a pervasive law of decay. These new research studies that firmly establish ΛCDM cosmology once again demonstrate that the more we learn about the universe, the more evidence we uncover for the existence of a cosmic Creator and cosmic Designer that matches the Creator-Designer God of the Bible.

Endnotes 

  1. Stacy S. McGaugh, “A Tale of Two Paradigms: The Mutual Incommensurability of ΛCDM and MOND,” Canadian Journal of Physics 93 (February 2015): 250–59, doi:10.1139/cjp-2014-0203; S. Samurović, A. Vudragović, and M. Jovanović, “Dark Matter and MOND Dynamical Models of the Massive Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 451 (August 2015): 4072–85, doi:10.1093/mnras/stv1226; S. Samurović, “The Newtonian and MOND Dynamical Models of NGC 5128: Investigation of the Dark Matter Contribution,” Serbian Astronomical Journal 192 (2016): 9–20, doi:10.2298/SAJ160113002S.
  2. G. Hinshaw et al., “Nine-Year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) Observations: Cosmological Parameter Results,” Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 208 (October 2013): id. 19, 9–11, doi:10.1088/0067-0049/208/2/19Planck Collaboration, “Planck 2013 Results. XVI. Cosmological Parameters,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 571 (November 2014): id. A16, 40, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201321591Shadab Alam et al., “The Clustering of Galaxies in the Completed SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Cosmological Analysis of the DR12 Galaxy Sample,” preprint, submitted July 11, 2016, https://arxiv.org/abs/1607.03155; Éric Aubourg et al., “Cosmological Implications of Baryon Acoustic Oscillation Measurements,” Physical Review D 92 (December 2015): id. 123516, 1, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.92.123516; G. S. Sharov and E. G. Vorontsova, “Parameters of Cosmological Models and Recent Astronomical Observations,” Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics 2014 (October 2014): id. 057, 1, doi:10.1088/1475-7516/2014/10/057; T. de Haan et al., “Cosmological Constraints from Galaxy Clusters in the 2500 Square Degree SPT-SZ Survey,” Astrophysical Journal 832 (November 2016): id. 95, 1, doi:10.3847/0004-637X/832/1/95; Chia-Hsun Chuang et al., “The Clustering of Galaxies in the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey: Single Probe Measurements from CMASS Anisotropic Galaxy Clustering,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 461 (June 2016): 3781, doi:10.1093/mnras/stw1535; Li et al., “Cosmological Constraints from the Redshift Dependence of the Alcock-Paczynski Effect: Application to the SDSS-III Boss DR12 Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal 832 (December 2016): id. 103, 1, doi:10.3847/0004-637X/832/2/103; M. Betoule et al., “Improved Cosmological Constraints from a Joint Analysis of the SDSS-II and SNLS Supernova Samples,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 568 (August 2014): id. A22, 1, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201423413; Nico Hamaus et al., “Constraints on Cosmology and Gravity from the Dynamics of Voids,” Physical Review Letters 117 (August 2016): id. 091302, 1, doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.117.091302; Raul E. Angulo and Stefan Hilbert, “Cosmological Constraints from the CFHTLenS Shear Measurements Using a New, Accurate, and Flexible Way of Predicting Non-Linear Mass Clustering,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 448 (March 2015): 364, doi:10.1093/mnras/stv050; David N. Spergel, Raphael Flauger, and Renée Hložek, “Planck Data Reconsidered,” Physical Review D 91 (January 2015): id. 023518, 1, doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.91.023518.
  3. Robert Thompson, Romeel Davé, and Kentaro Nagamine, “The Rise and Fall of a Challenger: The Bullet Cluster in Λ Cold Dark Matter Simulations,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 452 (September 2015): 3030–37, doi:10.1093/mnras/stv1433; D. Paraficz et al., “The Bullet Cluster at Its Best: Weighing Stars, Gas, and Dark Matter,” Astronomy & Astrophysics 594 (October 2016): id. A121, doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201527959.
  4. Kamran Derakhshani, “The MOND External Field Effect on the Dynamics of the Globular Clusters: General Considerations and Application to NGC 2419,” Astrophysical Journal 783 (March 2014): id. 48, doi:10.1088/0004-637X/783/1/48.
  5. F. J. Sánchez-Salcedo et al., “Low-Mass Disc Galaxies and the Issue of Stability: MOND Versus Dark Matter,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 462 (November 2016): 3918–36, doi:10.1093/mnras/stw1911; Toky H. Randriamampandry and Claude Carignan, “Galaxy Mass Models: MOND Versus Dark Matter Haloes,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 439 (April 2014): 2132–45, doi:10.1093/mnras/stu100.
  6. Julio F. Navarro et al., “The Origin of the Mass Discrepancy-Acceleration Relation in ΛCDM,” preprint, submitted December 19, 2016, https://arxiv.org/abs/1612.06329.
  7. Alejandro Benítez-Llambay et al., “The Properties of ‘Dark’ ΛCDM Haloes in the Local Group,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 465 (March 2017): 3913–26, doi:10.1093/mnras/stw2982.

Subjects: Big Bang Theory, Dark Energy & Dark Matter, God's Existence, Stars, Universe Design

About The Author

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. I also am eager to equip Christians to engage, rather than withdraw from or attack, educated non-Christians. One of the approaches I’ve developed, with the help of my RTB colleagues, is a biblical creation model that is testable, falsifiable, and predictive. I enjoy constructively integrating all 66 books of the Bible with all the science disciplines as a way to discover and apply deeper truths. 1 Peter 3:15–16 sets my ministry goal, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." Hugh Ross launched his career at age seven when he went to the library to find out why stars are hot. Physics and astronomy captured his curiosity and never let go. At age seventeen he became the youngest person ever to serve as director of observations for Vancouver's Royal Astronomical Society. With the help of a provincial scholarship and a National Research Council (NRC) of Canada fellowship, he completed his undergraduate degree in physics (University of British Columbia) and graduate degrees in astronomy (University of Toronto). The NRC also sent him to the United States for postdoctoral studies. At Caltech he researched quasi-stellar objects, or "quasars," some of the most distant and ancient objects in the universe. Not all of Hugh's discoveries involved astrophysics. Prompted by curiosity, he studied the world’s religions and "holy books" and found only one book that proved scientifically and historically accurate: the Bible. Hugh started at religious "ground zero" and through scientific and historical reality-testing became convinced that the Bible is truly the Word of God! When he went on to describe for others his journey to faith in Jesus Christ, he was surprised to discover how many people believed or disbelieved without checking the evidence. Hugh's unshakable confidence that God's revelations in Scripture and nature do not, will not, and cannot contradict became his unique message. Wholeheartedly encouraged by family and friends, communicating that message as broadly and clearly as possible became his mission. Thus, in 1986, he founded science-faith think tank Reasons to Believe (RTB). He and his colleagues at RTB keep tabs on the frontiers of research to share with scientists and nonscientists alike the thrilling news of what's being discovered and how it connects with biblical theology. In this realm, he has written many books, including: The Fingerprint of God, The Creator and the Cosmos, Beyond the Cosmos, A Matter of Days, Creation as Science, Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, and More Than a Theory. Between writing books and articles, recording podcasts, and taking interviews, Hugh travels the world challenging students and faculty, churches and professional groups, to consider what they believe and why. He presents a persuasive case for Christianity without applying pressure. Because he treats people's questions and comments with respect, he is in great demand as a speaker and as a talk-radio and television guest. Having grown up amid the splendor of Canada's mountains, wildlife, and waterways, Hugh loves the outdoors. Hiking, trail running, and photography are among his favorite recreational pursuits - in addition to stargazing. Hugh lives in Southern California with his wife, Kathy, and two sons.

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