Sunday, March 19, 2006

Alan Guth must be happy.

Twenty five years ago Alan Guth first suggested the idea of an inflationary universe to explain the universe's general flatness, homogeneity, and lack of topological defects (what these things really mean, I'm not sure, I have only the most rudimentary understanding of cosmology). Guth's original theory was, by his own admission, flawed but it has since been modified by people such as Andre Linde, Andreas Albrecht, and Paul Steinhardt to provide one of the most cogent conjectures regarding how the universe formed to have its current properties. However, until recently there was little evidential proof for Inflationary Theories veracity. Apparently that has changed. According to the National Geographic:
WMAP now has the most convincing evidence yet for inflation: a reading of the light released just after the big bang. This cosmic afterglow, known as microwave background, is made of a similar type of radiation to that which carries signals to a TV antenna.

The afterglow is as valuable to a cosmologist as the earliest fossils are to a paleontologist. It is the oldest radiation ever detected, still traveling almost 14 billion years after it was emitted.

See what can happen when you take the time to consider possible natural explanations for phenomena instead of screaming "irreducible complexity" and suggesting that an intelligent supernatural force is required to explain the universe. You might actually learn something.

-CK

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