Big Bang deniers misrepresented the scientist's quote about…
In July, astrophysicist Allison Kirkpatrick of the University of Kansas released an article highlighting the latest discoveries of "James Webb". Some of the telescope's observations were unexpected by astronomers, leading Kirkpatrick to write, "It's three in the morning and I can't sleep, wondering if everything I did was wrong?" This quote was picked up and used in his article by Eric Lerner, an opponent of the Big Bang theory, and his publication went viral.
As the scientist explains, “one of the observations of the telescope is that the distant galaxies it discovered are possibly more massive than previously thought, and structured much more complicated.” That they turned out to be more advanced than expected has become a puzzle for astrophysicists that is not consistent with current models of galaxy growth. However, the phrase about the "infidelity" of the scientist's work does not apply to the main theory of the origin of the universe as a whole.
“That was a good quote! Kirkpatrick says. “I try to be an honest person and meant what I said: everything that I learned about ancient galaxies based on previous telescopic data was not a complete picture, and now I have to refine my theories.”
However, in mid-August, Allison Kirkpatrick received a report that a certain "Institute of Art and Ideas" had released an article stating that "James Webb's" observations of distant galaxies disproved the Big Bang theory. The authors of the article took Kirkpatrick's quote, took it out of context, creating the false impression that astrophysicists are panicking because the theory is wrong.
“I saw the article and thought, ‘That’s terrible, but it’s still rubbish that no one is going to read,’” Kirkpatrick recalls. “And the next minute everyone is reading it!”
The situation began to take a stressful turn. Although friends and colleagues of the scientist understood that she was simply misquoted, many distant acquaintances began to contact her and ask if she really said this and even doubt her sanity. Then began to come, and still come, dozens of emails, and even calls.
The author of an article published by the Institute of Art and Ideas, independent researcher Eric Lerner, has been a consistent denier of the Big Bang theory since the late 1980s, preferring his personal pseudoscientific alternative. As Lee McIntyre, a philosopher of science at Boston University and author of How to Talk to a Science Denier, explains, Lerner used a classic tactic in his article.
First of all, Lerner carefully selects some data that are consistent with his theory and completely ignores others, such as Big Bang evidence such as CMB (residual heat). He exaggerates the real data, insisting that the unexpected characteristics of early galaxies are not only a serious contradiction to models of galaxy formation, but, as he writes, rule out all cosmology altogether. Finally, he denigrates real scientists by deliberately misrepresenting them and claiming that they are working as part of a conspiracy between "state-funded committees" that aims to eradicate any ideas that dare to question the Big Bang.
The denial of science is becoming a bigger problem, McIntyre points out. Although it has been around for as long as science itself, it has been spreading more actively in recent years, perhaps with the connivance of social networks. And while those who do not believe in the Big Bang will not lead to the collapse of society, other examples of denial of science are not so harmless, such as the denial of vaccines or global warming.
Reaching out to science deniers is difficult, McIntyre admits, because they don't trust the words of experts and other authority figures. Astronomers have an advantage over many other scientists: they work very closely with the public, and it is easier for them to give science a human face - for example, with the amazing photos taken by "James Webb".
The irony is that the "James Webb" observations support the Big Bang model, showing that the first galaxies were smaller and got bigger over time, as modern science believes. Observations that have shown that ancient galaxies are more massive and structured than expected do not mean that the Big Bang did not happen. They simply mean that the part of cosmology that studies what came after it needs to be adjusted.