"We all have a quest to increase the scope of our knowledge... It does not mean what was done in the past was wrong or a mistake. It only means that every theory has its limitations. Extrapolating this, we could say that no theory or model is good for everything or forever. " - Rajendra Gupta
Schisms and anachronisms
A million miles away from us, the James Webb Space Telescope silently orbits our host star as it looks further than we’ve ever been able to look through the infinitude of space. Not so quiet are the increasingly peculiar findings of the $10 billion dollar aperture through which we’re trying to learn more about our universe.
Next to the synthesized photos of newborn nebulae and galactic megaclusters, the JWST is sending us evidence that doesn’t seem to match up with the narrative we’ve been working under for quite some time — anachronisms that just don’t fit into the picture we’ve etched out over the last several decades.
This is where things get interesting: like with many things from politics to cultural trends, there seems to have developed an inner circle of mainstream cosmic belief that vociferously opposes any kind of disruption to its stability regarding the nature of our universe.
Among countless points of the scientific frontline, paradigms calcify within the ivory towers of academia, and theories on our observable universe are of no exception. Even the most abstract of concepts, like time or multi-dimensionality, are part of the shared neurotic complex for protecting ‘truth’ by way of clutching to the changeless.
In many cases, there’s a fair and logical explanation that warrants the academic metathesiophobia. Math doesn’t generally lie and anything that doesn’t fit cleanly into an existing mathematical framework, one refined over the course of generations, bears the onus of proving why that framework is flawed.
But eventually and inevitably, through the creative ambition of the human mind, that onus is met. Points of contention gain momentum and begin to erode the rigid belief structures which grasp at the existing maxims as if everything depends on that static and fixed permanency (and, to be fair, it often does — security, tenure, reputation).
An attack layer thus forms around the existing bubbles of mainstream belief — a layer that tries to pop that status quo of what we know (or what we think we know) to be true.
From the settled dusts of discourse, we begin to see new formations taking shape; it’s from these fields of debate, like particle collisions resulting in new particles, that new paradigms themselves are born.
As uncomfortable or threatening as this process can often seem, it’s incredibly necessary for the purposes of either strengthening an existing axiom or overwriting it altogether. Think of what an immune system would be without any exposure to any bacteria, or the evolution of any particular species without challenges to its continuity.
Conflict and challenge, in essence, are necessary for evolution; change is, fundamentally and indubitably, the dynamo of scientific progress.
Increasingly, we’ve seen what happens when a worthy antithesis comes face to face with an axiomatic theory that has held the throne amidst mounting conditions for change.
We’ve seen this happen in certain contexts and with certain figures as they revolve around certain topics: Randall Carlson with his impact hypothesis; Graham Hancock with his anthropological deductions, Avi Loeb with his astrophysical postulations.
And so we see two [equally important] camps emerge — one of particles that don’t want to revolve so much as they want to stabilize, a passive force seeking a kind of homeostatic equanimity; and another that actuates the potential and sparks changes via such collisions so as to create new revelations.
Both are crucial , and the interplay of both creates a habitable environment for potent scientific investigation.
But a problem arises when one camp starts to skew the perceptual playing fields and increasingly maneuvers through the discourse on any given subject with a more propagandist and suppressionist dynamic.
Such a problem is the one we see more often today, as social media is abused and the signals from the ivory tower are more creatively manipulated so as to skew perceptions under the guise of scientific legitimacy.
There's a reason we have particle colliders.
Enter Professor Rajendra Gupta, a Canadian theoretical astrophysicist who has worked for decades in proposing his hypothesis for the age of our universe.
What Graham Hancock is to archaeologists, Professor Gupta is to astrophysicists. For a long time now, he has advanced a different theory, one that doesn’t necessarily fit with our current cosmological models, and one that seems to really expose some of the cracks in the foundation of mainstream assumption on a topic that, in all truth, we can’t ever consider ourselves capable of fully understanding.
The universe in which we inhabit is an enigma trapped in perpetuity. We’ll learn more about it as we advance but, like the very oceans we swim or the very bodies and minds we locomote, we’ll always be at the mercy of what they fully have to offer.
Professor Gupta’s theory, over which a brief Q & A is presented below, is something that not only threatens one of the more rigid of scientific paradigms (the age of the universe), but also one that seems to be gaining quite a bit of momentum, especially as the JWST beams back data that slowly unravels the mainstream narrative.
As one scientific commentator told me, when asked to join an open discourse on this subject after publishing a condemnatory article on Professor Gupta’s theory (and then refusing to allow a response from Professor Gupta):
For a while, we’ll see such desperate effort to prop up the decaying narrative — defensive, aggressive, and opposed to any new insights. But eventually, change will prevail as it always must.
The second we see such a reluctance to contribute to scientific discourse, that’s when we know there is a broken mechanism — a malignancy that’s now just trying to loan itself more time.
Whatever happens from here, and whether Professor Gupta’s theory is lit up or extinguished, one thing is certain: things are going to get intensively more interesting with each new data point, especially as we begin to see the collisions of perspectives that don’t destroy but, rather, create.
- Insights from Professor Gupta's community
- An Open Memorandum from Professor Gupta
- A point of contention from Professor Avi Loeb
My first question may be a bit vague: It seems that our willingness to accept (or adapt to) new cosmological paradigms can't keep up with our rate of technological advancement. The modification of any given cosmological model can be likened to heresy for certain circles who have existentially grounded themselves within a particular model (anything relating to redshifting and/or gravitational lensing is a good example). For such an adaptive species, we seem too willing to lock our perspectives into place when it comes to such dynamics. Ultimately, I'm wondering A) why you think this is so; B) how you think we can overcome it; and C) whether you're optimistic that we will (or pessimistic that we won't) improve upon this tendency?
A scientific paradigm (foundation / theory / model) is built based on innumerable experiments and observations over a long period. Any paradigm has its limits and those limits are not always known. Any new information obtained through technological advancement must first be thoroughly tested with existing paradigm. Only when we are convinced that the new information is beyond the scope of the paradigm should we look for improving the paradigm or inventing something new that could also explain everything that the old one does. However, there is no denial that if I have invested my time and energy in a particular model, it would be hard for me to switch to something else and start from scratch. Nevertheless, I strongly believe that if a solid improvement to a generally accepted model is proposed and applied diligently to solve existing and new problems, and make testable prediction, then such improved model will eventually prevail – until technology is developed beyond its scope.
My second question seeks to prompt a brief summary of your work for our readership: The JWST is forcing us back to the drawing boards in how it continues to find anachronisms as it observes stars and galaxies at states of evolution more advanced than they perhaps should be by current models of estimation. Your paper seeks to reconcile these findings via the timeless equations of Zwicky and Dirac. Can you expand on how these equations (i.e. Zwicky's Tired Light Theory and Dirac's Constants) played a role in your postulations and/or how they'll continue to evolve our understanding in line with the discoveries being made by the JWST?
We all have a quest to increase the scope of our knowledge. For this purpose, we build expensive machines, like large hadron collider and huge telescopes. Scientists know well in advance that not all the information these machines generate will be within the scope of existing theories. It does not mean what was done in the past was wrong or a mistake. It only means that every theory has its limitations. Extrapolating this, we could say that no theory or model is good for everything or forever.
I have been interested in the tired light explanation of redshift for a long time. I came across a research paper late last year that could resolve the 'impossible early galaxy' problem of the cosmic dawn observed by JWST using the tired light theory of the steady-state universe. But this model cannot fit cosmic noon data (supernovae type 1a standard candle – Pantheon data) and explain the extreme isotropy of the cosmic microwave background; they are compliant with the expanding universe models used to account for the redshift. I then thought of combining the tired light redshift model with the standard expanding universe redshift model to see if such a hybrid model (call it STL) would be consistent both with the cosmic dawn and cosmic noon observations. It was disappointing to find out that it didn't.
I have had an interest in the varying constant concept of Dirac. According to him, the gravitational constant decreases with increasing time at the cosmic time scale. I studied this idea and applied it also to the possible variation of other coupling constants (speed of light, Planck constant, and Boltzmann constant). Based on local energy conservation, I determined that they should vary in an interrelated way through a common function. I developed an expanding universe model based on this covarying coupling constant concept. When I combined this model with the tired light model (call it CTL), I got an excellent fit both to the cosmic dawn observations and the cosmic noon data. That was the good news. The bad news was that it almost doubled the age of the universe. This bad news may be the good news for astronomers; they don't have to compress the timeline for the formation of galaxies and black holes to a few hundred million years, as they now have a few billion years to play with.
The notion of coupling constants is critical to your hybrid hypothesis. Friction tends to emerge from our efforts to decipher the variations and interactions of these constants - of not properly interpreting the interdependence. As you specify in another paper: "constraining any one of the constants leads to inadvertently constraining all the others." Can you elaborate on this point within the context of your hybrid hypothesis?
The coupling constants' variations are interrelated through a common function. Fixing one fixes this common function and, thus, all the interrelated constants. So, if you wish to measure the variation of the gravitational constant G while keeping the speed of light c fixed, you will get negative results. Since both these constants are involved in my hybrid model, the common function determines how the two evolve, affecting how the universe evolves.
In what ways, if any, has the field of quantum physics played a role in your [personal] understanding of cosmological landscapes and/or how do you feel that discoveries at the subatomic level will help us clarify some of the quandaries we're observing at a macro-cosmic level?
The cosmos is made of matter and radiation, and both are the product of atomic and subatomic level interactions through coupling constants. The universe's origin is entrenched in particle physics, in fact, before the particles even existed. One then talks of quantum fluctuations and inflation, followed by primordial nucleosynthesis to create helium and few other light elements from a soup of electrons, protons, radiation, etc. The universe's continued expansion cooled down the baryon-photons to a low enough temperature for atoms to form and photons to become free, which we observe as the cosmic microwave background. Atoms then form into stars and galaxies, etc. Stars generate energy by fusion, involving scattering and other processes at the subatomic level. So cosmology is the interplay among particles and radiation at all levels, from the tiniest to the largest, from the most rarified to the most dense, etc. Thus, any new finding at the subatomic level can be expected to impact our understanding at the macro level. This is why particle physics and cosmology are considered interrelated subjects.
What do you envision will happen next as the JWST continues to reshape our perceptions of the universe, either to the astrophysics community or to our methods of scientific inquiry & investigation as a whole?
We do expect JWST to reshape our perception of the universe, the same way as the Hubble Space Telescope, Planck, Chandra, etc., changed the perception. That is the whole idea of any new experiment that expands the limits of our observable space (& time!).
- An Open Memorandum from Professor Gupta [10-2023]
- Insights from Professor Gupta's community [ETA 11-2023]
- A point of contention from Professor Avi Loeb [ETA 11-2023]