The Big Bang Never Happened

The Big Bang Never Happened

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by Eric Lerner
     
 

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A mesmerizing challenge to orthodox cosmology with powerful implications not only for cosmology itself but also for our notions of time, God, and human nature -- with a new Preface addressing the latest developments in the field.

Far-ranging and provocative, The Big Bang Never Happened is more than a critique of one of the primary theories of astronomy -- that the

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Overview

A mesmerizing challenge to orthodox cosmology with powerful implications not only for cosmology itself but also for our notions of time, God, and human nature -- with a new Preface addressing the latest developments in the field.

Far-ranging and provocative, The Big Bang Never Happened is more than a critique of one of the primary theories of astronomy -- that the universe appeared out of nothingness in a single cataclysmic explosion ten to twenty billion years ago. Drawing on new discoveries in particle physics and thermodynamics as well as on readings in history and philosophy, Eric J. Lerner confronts the values behind the Big Bang theory: the belief that mathematical formulae are superior to empirical observation; that the universe is finite and decaying; and that it could only come into being through some outside force. With inspiring boldness and scientific rigor, he offers a brilliantly orchestrated argument that generates explosive intellectual debate.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lerner does a fine job poking holes in Big Bang thinking and provides a historical perspective as well, linking scientific theories to trends in philosophy, politics, religion and even economics...a most readable book." -- Chicago Tribune
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Readers inspired by Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time should brace themselves for Lerner's larger history of time, space and a new force: the humanistic sociology of science. The timely news (making headlines as this review goes to press) is that the Big Bang cosmology can no longer contain all the new evidence astronomers have gathered about the physical nature of the universe. In fact, Lerner argues, the persistence of the Big Bang and other finite definitions of the universe is rooted less in data gathered by radio telescopes than in medieval devotion to the idea of the finite, perfectly ordered universe. Lerner calibrates the Big Bang's development as one of the swings of the ``cosmological pendulum'' of science in history--from the perfect, mathematically closed systems of early Christian cosmos to the scientific revolution of the 19th century, back to today's ``Theory of Everything'' in particle physics. Lerner's own cosmology is plasma-based, an incomplete physics that includes electromagnetism as well as Einstein's gravity principles at work in the creation of one of an ever-expanding universe, which requires neither creator nor ``bang,'' and is still evolving with humankind. Lay readers will need familiarity with the basics of quantum theory or a science dictionary to fully appreciate this grand tour of three centuries of cosmology, but this is an expedition of the scientific mind that includes all the grandeur, rigor and challenge to our humanity that has marked cosmology since Galileo. Plasma physicist Lerner holds open the door to one of science's inner rooms for a popular audience. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Library Journal
From Steven Weinberg's The First Three Minutes (Basic, 1976. o.p.; 1988. pap.) to Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time ( LJ 4/15/88), numerous science popularizations have expounded the Big Bang Theory for the origin of the universe as indisputable fact. Readers of those books will find this one startling and intriguing. Lerner, a plasma physicist, points out flaws in the Big Bang model and proposes an alternative theory: an eternal, self-sustaining ``plasma'' universe where electromagnetic fields within conducting gases provide other, simpler explanations for observed phenomena. His contention that the Big Bang is merely a repackaged creation myth is presumptuous, but well argued. To present a current scientific controversy to a general audience risks, on one hand, misleading the public and, on the other, circumventing the peer review process. This book, however, makes valid points in a convincing manner and does neither. Recommended for general science collections.-- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bozeman

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679740490
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/1992
Edition description:
1st Vintage Books Edition
Pages:
496
Sales rank:
742,136
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.97(h) x 1.20(d)

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