Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B 31 (2):171-186 (2000)
|Abstract||In this paper I take a sceptical view of the standard cosmological model and its variants, mainly on the following grounds: (i) The method of mathematical modelling that characterises modern natural philosophy-as opposed to Aristotle's-goes well with the analytic, piecemeal approach to physical phenomena adopted by Galileo, Newton and their followers, but it is hardly suited for application to the whole world. (ii) Einstein's first cosmological model (1917) was not prompted by the intimations of experience but by a desire to satisfy Mach's Principle. (iii) The standard cosmological model-a Friedmann-Lematre-Robertson-Walker spacetime expanding with or without end from an initial singularity-is supported by the phenomena of redshifted light from distant sources and very nearly isotropic thermal background radiation provided that two mutually inconsistent physical theories are jointly brought to bear on these phenomena, viz the quantum theory of elementary particles and Einstein's theory of gravity. (iv) While the former is certainly corroborated by high-energy experiments conducted under conditions allegedly similar to those prevailing in the early world, precise tests of the latter involve applications of the Schwarzschild solution or the PPN formalism for which there is no room in a Friedmann-Lematre-Robertson-Walker spacetime.|
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