Reasons to Believe

Debunking the Scientific Conspiracy

“The evidence opposing the mainstream scientific view can’t get published.”

I have heard objections like this when presenting evidence arguing for a 4.5 billion-year-old Earth and for the validity of global warming. Many people believe that the scientific community prevents evidence contrary to its own favored ideas from reaching the public. But the recent acceptance of scientific papers supporting opposing evidence disproves this particular conspiracy theory.

Reasons to Believe (and others) have argued for years that big bang cosmology represents one of the most potent scientific evidences in favor of Christianity. Yet some Christian organizations reject the big bang, primarily because of the timescales it involves.

A wealth of evidence points to some form of big bang cosmology, and most scientists accept it as the best explanation for the origin and development of the universe. If the “opposing evidence isn’t published” objection were true, then only research in support of big bang cosmology would appear in scientific literature. But a review of the literature demonstrates otherwise.

One prominent example, is a paper, to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, that questions the usefulness of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) data for determining the composition of the universe. As with any experiment, scientists must remove instrumental effects from the data to determine the “real signal.” The paper argues that the WMAP team may not have properly accounted for these instrumental effects. If so, the universe may not contain any dark matter or dark energy—integral parts of big bang cosmology that demonstrate incredible fine-tuning.1 This paper is also discussed in the lay-friendly science news site Science Daily.

Two main points warrant mention. First, as my colleague Kenneth Samples notes, Christians are just as susceptible to conspiracy theories as anyone else. While spiritual attacks certainly happen and bias exists in every field, we should thoroughly test conspiracies before accepting and promoting them. Ken recommends asking, “Does the theory comport with the data?” As the research above demonstrates, the conspiracy idea that the mainstream scientific community suppresses opposing viewpoints fails. Second, we don’t have to “believe” a particular big bang model. Future data (like that from the Planck satellite) will allow scientists to test which model best explains all the data we have.

Past history indicates the evidence will continue to support the idea that a supernatural Creator made and designed this universe to support life.

Subjects: Big Bang

Dr. Jeff Zweerink

While many Christians and non-Christians see faith and science as in perpetual conflict, I find they integrate well. They operate by the same principles and are committed to discovering foundational truths. Read more about Dr. Jeff Zweerink.

Endnotes:


1.  W. Sawangwit, T. Shanks, “Beam Profile Sensitivity of the WMAP CMB Power Spectrum,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, accepted for publication (preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/0912.0524).