This article is from
Journal of Creation 20(2):10–11, August 2006

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CMB Conundrums

Figure 1. CMB anisotropies projected onto a sphere. False coloured spots indicate temperature variations from the 2.725 K background.


I have previously reported1 some of the problems associated with observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) made by Boomerang, COBE (Cosmic Background Explorer) and WMAP (Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe). Russ Humphreys has also written on this in the past.2 Now it seems it has come under fire again, this time by some of their own.3–5. Further analysis has highlighted even more problems for the inflationary big bang theory.

The discussion revolves around the power spectral analysis of the CMB. Because the instrument used to look for the very fine variations (anisotropies) in the 2.725 K temperature is a differential microwave radiometer, one can only compare the temperature of one part of the sky with another. This means that those wonderful false coloured images of the temperature variations that you see published6 have a certain degree of arbitrary indeterminism (figure 1). The analysis is carried out on an angular scale by sampling various angle sizes and a power spectrum of the result is determined as a function of reciprocal angle or beam size on the sky.

Further analysis has highlighted even more problems for the inflationary big bang theory.

To analyze the result, the anisotropies are expanded in a series of spherical harmonic functions (or modes that describe how a sphere can vibrate) that when overlapped should form a random picture across the sky when projected onto a sphere7 (figure 2).

The dipole term8 is the result of the well-understood motion of the solar system through space. When we look toward the direction of our motion, we see a blueshift in those temperatures of the order of 10−3, and when we look behind, we see an equivalent redshift. The magnitude of the effect is much (~40 times) larger than the fine variations of 70 μK that were ultimately discovered. So it must be subtracted. Then it is expected that higher order multipole expansion terms would have random alignments—they should not align with each other, or with any preferred direction in space.

Figure 2. Calculated CMB quadrupole (above) and octopole (below) modes appear to be very closely aligned to the same spatial axis. (After Tegmark et al.7)

In addition, the inflation stage originally added to the big bang model by Alan Guth,9 and expanded upon and modified by others,10,11 requires that the amplitudes of all of these modes are random with Gaussian distributions and that the power in each should be about the same. The idea is that this ‘inflation’ of space itself, faster than the speed of light, in the early stages after the big bang, smoothed out all of the early structure of the universe and now it all should be a featureless uniform scale. Each mode, on average, should have an amplitude of zero.

At low angular scales, it is found that when the intensities of the microwave energy are compared at various points on the sky they are correlated, but above 60 degrees, it is found that they are completely uncorrelated. This is in striking disagreement with inflationary theory.

Each multipole mode has been analysed to see where it falls on the sky and it was discovered that the octopole and quadrupole modes have axes that are very closely aligned (figure 2).7 Their intensities are also much lower than expected from inflationary cold dark matter models.

Analyses by Starkman and Schwarz3 and others4,5 seem to indicate that these octopole and quadrupole modes are aligned in some fashion with the direction of the two points on the sky where the projection of Earth’s equator onto the sky crosses the ecliptic. This lies very close to 90 degrees to the direction the solar system moves through space.

However, this is the evidence we would expect for a galactocentric universe, with certain special features even attributed to the solar system.

All this seems to be telling us that at least a component on low angular scales is correlated with the solar system. Further evidence tells us that on some scales there exists a correlation with nearby extragalactic sources.12 But the fact that there is poor correlation on large scales, even when corrections are taken into account, suggests that the cosmological contribution is very weak indeed. This then is very bad news for the standard big bang model. However, this is the evidence we would expect for a galactocentric universe,13 with certain special features even attributed to the solar system.

In the creationist model14 I proposed, the universe expanded15 by a factor of about 3,000 or a volume expansion of about 10 orders of magnitude. This is understood to be associated with an original created 9,000K plasma that was adiabatically (i.e. no change in heat or entropy) cooled to the all-pervasive 2.725K background as the universe was stretched out. These features of the CMB are consistent with the local solar system frame as expected in this creationist model.

The special status of the solar system has been claimed too.16 A Young Solar System (YSS) model was suggested that involved a supernaturally imposed time dilation event17 near Earth. Local time dilation resulting from the actions of the Creator allowed Adam to see the stars the moment he opened his eyes. Those actions should leave some imprint on nature that we are left to explore. Therefore, we should expect, conversely to the Copernican principle, which states that there is nothing special about our solar system, features that actually are special to the solar system.

Posted on homepage: 2 August 2013


  1. Hartnett, J.G., Recent Cosmic Microwave Background data supports creationist cosmologies, Journal of Creation 15(1):8–12, 2001; Hartnett, J.G., Echoes of the big bang or noise? Journal of Creation 18(2):11–13, 2004. Return to text.
  2. Humphreys, D.R., Bumps in the Big Bang, ICR Impact #233, 1992; available at www.icr.org/index.php?module=articles&action=view&ID=362, 23 March 2006. Return to text.
  3. Starkman, G.D. and Schwarz, D.L., Is the Universe out of tune? Scientific American 293(2):00368733, 2005. Return to text.
  4. Copi, C.J., Huterer, D. and Starkman, G.D., Multipole Vectors—a new representation of the CMB sky and evidence for statistical anisotropy or non-Gaussianity at 2≤l≤8, Phys. Rev. D. 70:043515, 2004. Return to text.
  5. Schwarz, D.J. Starkman, G.D., Huterer, D. and Copi, C.J., Is the low-l microwave background cosmic? Phys. Rev. Lett. 93:221301, 2004. Return to text.
  6. Bennett, C.L. et al., First year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe [WMAP] observations: Preliminary maps and basic results, Astrophys. J. Suppl. 148:1–28, 2003. Return to text.
  7. Tegmark, M., de Oliveira-Costa, A. and Hamilton A., A high resolution foreground cleaned CMB map from WMAP, astroph/0302496, Phys. Rev. D. 68:123523, 2003. Return to text.
  8. The dipole term is the first-order spherical harmonic function; the monopole term being the zero-order function. Multipoles are any spherical harmonic functions with more than one pole. See www.phys.cwru.edu/projects/mpvectors/, 16 March 2006. Return to text.
  9. Guth, A.H., Inflationary universe: A possible solution to the horizon and flatness problem, Phys. Rev. D. 23:347–356, 1981. This original model of Guth’s is considered erroneous, but inflationary theory still requires the amplitudes of all of these ‘modes’ to be random with Gaussian distributions and that the power in each should be about the same. Return to text.
  10. Linde, A., A new inflationary universe scenario: a possible solution of the horizon, flatness, homogeneity, isotropy and primordial monopole problems, Phys. Lett. B. 108:389, 1982. Return to text.
  11. Albrecht, A. and Steinhardt, P.J., Cosmology For Grand Unified Theories With Radiatively Induced Symmetry Breaking, Phys. Rev. Lett. 48:1220, 1982. Return to text.
  12. Hartnett, J.G., Echoes of the big bang … or noise? Journal of Creation 18(2):11–13, 2004. Return to text.
  13. Humphreys, D.R., Our galaxy is the centre of the universe, ‘quantized’ red shifts show, Journal of Creation 16(2):1–10, 2002; Hartnett, J.G., A creationist cosmology in a galactocentric universe, Journal of Creation 19(3):73–81, 2005 Return to text.
  14. Hartnett J.G., Cosmological expansion in a creationist cosmology, Journal of Creation 19(3):96–102, 2005. Return to text.
  15. D.R. Humphreys suggested this is what God meant by the biblical references to stretching out the heavens. See Humphreys, D.R., Starlight and Time, Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 1994. Return to text.
  16. Hartnett, J.G., Look-back time in our galactic neighbourhood leads to a new cosmogony, Journal of Creation 17(1):73–79, 2003. Return to text.
  17. Hartnett, J.G., A new cosmology: solution to the starlight travel time problem, Journal of Creation 17(2):98–102, 2003. Return to text.

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