Arp’s Second Question

I just recently received my copy of Dr. Halton Arp’s small book, Quasars, Redshift, And Controversies. On page 5 of the introduction, Dr. Arp, lifelong astronomer and cosmologist, offers us these three paragraphs:

This raises two questions for the reader. The first is, “What are the reasons which some astronomers give for disbelieving the evidence and conclusions of this book?” As to the question, I cannot possibly represent fairly the other side. Even if I could present it in an unbiased way, it would take an impossibly long time. The counterarguments to the evidence presented in this book, when they have been made in a few cases, are exceedingly complex and obscure and become hopelessly lost in technical detail. As Fred Hoyle has remarked, “The establishment defends itself by “complicating everything to the point of incomprehensibility.” I try to deal with valid, alternate possibilities as they arise, but the reader will either have to search out any original arguments from the references I give in the appendices to each chapter, or wait for a comprehensible rebuttal to this book to be published.

The second question raised is: “Assuming for the moment that the evidence in this book is correct, why have many professional astronomers disbelieved it?” That is an exceedingly important question because it bears on how human beings discover and gain knowledge and avoid harmful, entrenched mythologies. That is the reason I have included personal anecdote and commentary in this book. In case the thesis of this book is correct, we want to know what the factors are that led to this long, implacable rejection of new knowledge, the wasted effort, and the retardation of progress. Inevitably these factors involve emotional, personal, and ethical questions. These are explosive subjects down through the history of mankind. I am sure emotions will be stirred as a result of my comments in this book.

That I am willing to endure because I feel that the way in which research is conducted is one of the most crucial of mankind’s activities. If the research is imaginative and accurate, and the human relations promote and protect this process, then the results will inevitably be worthwhile. If the process is biased, the practitioners too hostile or competitive for personal gain, or lacking in the crucial element of sportsmanship, then the results will inevitably be delayed and distorted.

Quasars, Redshifts, and Controversies by Halton C. Arp

Dr. Halton C. Arp died in Germany on December 28, 2013 at the age of 86. I wish I could contact him and meet his cosmological and astronomic theories with my own meager protests of the Big Bang Theory from a physics perspective. His obituary on January 7, 2014 on had this picture, along with the following statement:

Halton C. Arp in 2005. His dogged promotion of an unorthodox theory led to exile from his peers.

Maybe someday we will have chemists or physicists that concentrate on tritium interactions near absolute zero degrees Kelvin or at the opposite temperatures of extreme heat and electrical activity. I wonder. Could all three disciplines meet in the middle and find a few far more simple answers to some of the intervening questions while admitting a most obvious fact?: We don’t really know how big the Universe actually is, when it was created, or how it might possibly have come to exist!!

I admit I have no credentials in any Physics community. My only claim is an offer of honors at entrance in Physics to the University of California, Berkeley. Had I accepted their tempting and flattering offer and pursued a career in the field, I might be sharing something like Dr. Arp’s professional fate.

But I accepted an academic scholarship to Swarthmore College instead and developed a lifelong interest in World History and causes and effects within our common past.

Much later, I studied psychology on the side for 10 years straight, got straight A’s and GRE scores in the top 1%. I applied to a PsyD program in San Diego and, when they turned me down after the oral interview, got into California State University Fullerton and continued to study psychology and physics. I applied to their Marriage and Family Counselor Master’s program, which also turned me down after a very brief oral interview. And, being in my 50s by then, declined 6 more years of schooling of indoctrination and expense in order to teach what I no longer believed in within a high school physics class.

So I don’t have credentials in psychology or history either.

And my efforts at raising concerns during physics and psychology classes were met, as Dr. Arp’s were, with pat dogma and a complete and absolute unwillingness or inability to think outside the box.

When I had a 5-minute, impromptu discussion with Swarthmore Nobel Prize Laureate and Cosmology expert, John Mather, he confidently dismissed my quickly-voiced ideas as part of the Weak Light Theory which he said had been thoroughly disproven. We were fellow classmates of the class of 1968 for a year and a half and probably shared the same Physics lecture during our freshman year. He was a confident and charismatic speaker with thrilling slides and impressive details from having put a NASA satellite in orbit and found a background radiation he assured me proved the Big Bang Theory.

I later sent him a copy of one of my attempts at refuting the established “fact” (read “assumption”) that cesium clocks are accurate under any and all circumstances or that the redshift is caused entirely by constant acceleration away from all other large astronomical bodies everywhere we look at each and every time zone we see as we peer back in time and, concurrently, out at ever more distant and older objects.

I call your attention to the historical fact that all women were completely excluded from publishing or joining academic circles between the fifth century and the early nineteenth century because a group of men got together and published the “widely known fact” that women were unsuited for such leadership because of the characteristics of their gender and it was uniformly enforced by the Catholic Church and supporting words in the Holy Bible.

I have come to the astonishing conclusion that a biological inability for any of us humans to think outside the box is created by our intense loyalties to our childhood dogmas, our old mentors, our own concepts, and our current colleagues, departments and professional associations as well as the actual dependency on the good opinion of others to thrive socially and publish professionally.

It isn’t a small coincidence that Dr. Arp had a great deal of trouble getting his books published or gaining traction within a solidifying academic and scientific community.

Over the past few years, scientists have been given huge salaries, immense budgets, and massive endowments to pursue “science” that obfuscates findings to protect corporate economic interests.

In an entire world dominated by the profit motive, is it any wonder science, too, is racing off the tracks rather than sticking to what worked before and moving it forward in harmony and good faith?

And in minds trained from birth to see things a certain way, it’s amazing we’ve come this far towards harmony and cooperation. Maybe, if we curb our loyalties a bit more, we’ve got a few more steps toward truth and understanding left??

Categories Philosophy, PhysicsTags , , , , , ,

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