We present here an interesting paper that shows a side of cosmology that is not readily apparent to most people. This is worthy of being pointed out to ill-informed atheists who think that they are operating with "firmly established facts." Rather, they are operating on this: (إِن يَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ الظَّنَّ وَإِنْ هُمْ إِلاَّ يَخْرُصُونَ), "They do but conjecture (give opinions) and they do but guess" (6:116) (ذَلِكَ مَبْلَغُهُم مِّنَ الْعِلْمِ), "That is their sum of knowledge" (53:30).
So here is the paper, it is titled: ΛCDM cosmology: how much suppression of credible evidence, and does the model really lead its competitors, using all evidence? (see abstract) (download PDF). In essence, it is possible to propose any type of model for the universe and then design and conduct experiments to find what we are already looking for. When we find things that don't agree with our model, we simply broaden and expand the model to accomodate the anomalies. By taking this approach we can basically start off with any model and continue "proving" it as time goes on. This is what has been happening with big bang cosmology over the decades, witht the addition of fudge-factors to make sure the basic model remains intact. Using this type of approach you can have a large range of models that can be proposed and "validated" because you are free to imagine and invent explanations to broaden the model's reach and to make sure it continues to fit in with observational data.
Here is the abstract:
Astronomy can never be a hard core physics discipline, because the Universe offers no control experiment, i.e. with no independent checks it is bound to be highly ambiguous and degenerate. Thus e.g. while superluminal motion can be explained by Special Relativity, data on the former can never on their own be used to establish the latter. This is why traditionally astrophysicists have been content with (and proud of) their ability to use known physical laws and processes established in the laboratory to explain celestial phenomena. Cosmology is not even astrophysics: all the principal assumptions in this field are unverified (or unverifiable) in the laboratory, and researchers are quite comfortable with inventing unknowns to explain the unknown. How then could, after fifty years of failed attempt in finding dark matter, the fields of dark matter and now dark energy have become such lofty priorities in astronomy funding, to the detriment of all other branches of astronomy? I demonstrate in this article that while some of is based upon truth, at least just as much of ΛCDM cosmology has been propped by a paralyzing amount of propaganda which suppress counter evidence and subdue competing models. The recent WMAP3 paper of Spergel et al (2007) will be used as case in point on selective citation. I also show that when all evidence are taken into account, two of the competing models that abolish dark energy and/or dark matter do not trail behind ΛCDM by much. Given all of the above, I believe astronomy is no longer heading towards a healthy future, unless funding agencies re-think their master plans by backing away from such high a emphasis on groping in the dark.
And this is part of the conclusion:
Cosmologists should not pretend to be mainstream physicists, because there is only one irreproducible Universe and control experiments are impossible. The claim to overwhelming evidence in support of dark energy and dark matter is an act of exaggeration which involves heavy selection of evidence and an inconsiderate attitude towards alternative models with fewer (or no) dark components. When all evidence are taken into account, it is by no means clear that CDM wins by such leaps and bounds.
There are other good observations and points in the paper too. However, the lesson here is that "cosmologists" do not deal in hard physics and they cannot truly implement the scientific method in explaining the origin of the universe. It has to be admitted from the very outset that this field of study will always be speculative. This undermines the claimed certainty that atheists tend to profess, as if they are dealing in facts, when all they are dealing with are assumptions. They have a prior assumption of naturalism or materialism supported by another set of assumptions as to how the universe (and life) came to be. Experiments are designed in such a way to confirm these assumptions and the most of what they have are conjectures made on the basis of a limited range of observations and data, which could be interpreted in numerous other ways and within the framework of other models.