We might learn an important lesson from a bit of embarrassment Big Bang supporters suffered in 2014. In March, mainstream media outlets announced that the BICEP2 radio astronomy telescope team discovered indirect remains of the Big Bang's supposed inflationary period.1 Headlines identified their astronomical observations as "smoking gun" evidence for the Big Bang itself, but it didn't take long at all for this smoke to clear.
The BICEP2 investigators interpreted faint, swirly patterns in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation—microwaves that appear to bathe all of outer space—as sure indicators of a time when the universe's expansion rate inexplicably accelerated many times faster than today's rate. Equally mysterious are the means by which this expansion supposedly slowed. The Institute for Creation Research quickly warned readers to show skepticism over the announcements. And not long after, a flow of secular reports soundly refuted the original "smoking gun" claims.2,3,4
The BICEP2 discovery was just dust—literally. The swirly patterns first interpreted as gravity-wave leftovers from inflation turned out to be caused by interstellar dust. Astrophysicist Katherine Mack told ScienceNews, "That's when people got really depressed."5
A PBS article titled "Inflation, Elation, Deflation" adequately summed up this sad story arc, which clearly conveys the wisdom of waiting for the rest of the story, even in the face of highly qualified scientists who all agree that the whole story is set in the stars.6 No doubt secular astronomers will shake off the dust and redouble their efforts to promote the godless Big Bang narrative to which they cling, no matter what science actually observes. Meanwhile, those who failed to put the brakes on their Big Bang elation in 2014 saw it dashed upon the rocks of real science. Lesson learned.
- Overbye, D. Space Ripples Reveal Big Bang's Smoking Gun. The New York Times. Posted on nytimes.com March 17, 2014, accessed March 17, 2014.
- Hebert, J. 'Smoking Gun' Evidence of Inflation? Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org March 21, 2014, accessed December 29, 2014.
- Hebert, J. 'Smoking Gun' Proof of Big Bang Already In Doubt. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org June 6, 2014, accessed December 29, 2014.
- Hebert, J. 2014. Another Big Bang Blunder. Acts & Facts. 43 (9): 16.
- Crockett, C. Year in review: Dust obscures possible gravitational wave discovery. Science News. Posted on sciencenews.org December 17, 2014, accessed December 29, 2014.
- Becker, K. Inflation, Elation, Deflation: Reflecting on BICEP2. The Nature of Reality NOVA blog. Posted on pbs.org October 21, 2014, accessed December 29, 2014.
Image credit: NASA. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.
*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on January 5, 2015.