Imagine positing a theory about the origin of the cosmos, then predicting something odd and otherwise implausible that one would find if the theory were true. Then imagine finding it. That’s what happened. This is via USA TODAY and The Des Moines Register:
[Cosmic inflation] should have magnified tiny ripples in the universe called primordial gravitational waves, which in turn left a stamp on light created some 13.5 billion years ago.
That light still pervades the cosmos today as a faint glow invisible to the naked eye called the cosmic microwave background. A team of U.S. scientists announced Monday that they’d used a telescope in Antarctica to detect a telltale “curl” in the microwaves’ orientation – a pattern that’s the fingerprint of gravitational waves.
In other words, they went looking for the curl that they predicted should be there if cosmic inflation is true, and it is there. They found it.
Six reasons the big bang theory is science and not metaphysics or faith:
- it’s testable (and therefore capable of falsification or confirmation);
- it makes predictions;
- the predictions are fruitful (they pan out);
- the theory’s confirmed predictions have scope (they explain and accord with a lot of things, not just an isolated thing);
- the theory is conservative (it conforms with our already well-established background knowledge);
- in comparison with other theories, it’s the simplest and best (it requires the fewest background assumptions and most naturally fits the facts as we currently understand them).
These are sometimes referred to as the criteria of adequacy, and the big bang holds up well under all of them.