Scientists who dare to dissent from the current scientific orthdoxy are usually treated as pariahs, and face ridicule, and abuse. We all know about the experience of Coperni- cus, the 16th century astronomer who rejected the geocentric theory. Dissenters still usually find themselves travelling a lonely road, and lose friends — and often funding to persue their research.
DENIED TELESCOPE TIME
Such was the case with astronomer Halton C Arp, who died in December 2013 aged 86. Arp was a staff astronomer at the Mount Wilson and Palomar Observatories in California for 30 years, and during most of that time he accepted the popular “big bang” theory. However, his obser- vations revealed facts which he believed contra- dicted the theory, and the methods used to calculate the distance of astronomical objects. He wrote: "It is a cruel fact of life that whatever the current official theory is, it must explain all the observed facts. A single, well-founded contradictory observation will suffice to topple the whole edifice.”1,2 His obituary in the Daily Telegraph stated, “While the Big Bang is almost universally accepted as the most plausible account of the origin of the universe, it is still only a theory, not proven fact, and in principle should be open to any scientists to test it against alternative cosmological possibilities. Yet Arp found himself being treated as a pariah.”3 He was denied telescope time, and forced to pursue his studies in exile at the Max Planck Institute in Munich. He wrote several books detailing his discoveries. Dr Arp was not a creationist, but he was one of those brave souls who refuse to be cowed into toeing the party line.
Another astronomer who dared to challenge the “big bang” was Guillermo Gonzalez, who received a Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Washington in 1993. He received numerous fellowships, grants and awards and has published 68 articles in refereed science journals including The Astrophysical Journal. His research led to the publication in 2004 of the book The Privileged Planet, co-authored with Jay Richards, and later made into a documentary film. Although there were no references to God or the Bible, the book’s conclusion was that the uniqueness of the earth, including its position in the galaxy and solar system, pointed to intelligent design and purpose rather than random chance. Although he had never taught his ideas to students, Dr Gonzalez (right) soon found himself the victim of a plot to deny him tenure at Iowa State University, where he worked. His department chair claimed that his views on ID “disqualified” him from being a “science educator.” Despite appeals, his application for tenure was rejected. He is now assistant at Ball State University, Indiana.
Drs Arp and Gonzalez are by no means the only scientists daring to challenge the secular orthodoxy. In 2004 33 top scientists signed an openletter to New Scientist magazine4. that was critical of the “big bang.” Part of it read: “The big bang today relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities, things that we have never observed — inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent examples.” They claimed that the theory relied upon “fudge factors”, and that none of its predictions had been been validated by observation.5 Scientists who question Darwin’s evolution theory, and suggest either intelligent design or creation, often face similar discrimination, and even witchhunts.” These hostile and emotional reactions to those who dare to question the orthodox theories of the origin of the universe and life on earth clearly demonstrate that these theories have more to do with philosophy than science.
Attempts to explain the origin of the universe and life by purely naturalistic processes are part of the age-old rebellion by humans against their Creator. Yet “what may be known about God is plain to them, because od has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—
his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 19-20)