Tao Lin takes a closer look at science’s creation stories, examining their implications for human culture at large
The universe was created from nothing 13.8 billion years ago, according to the current version of the Big Bang theory. First proposed by Edgar Allan Poe in 1848, the theory became increasingly popular after Belgian astronomer-priest Georges Lemaître suggested a form of it in 1927. It was endorsed by Albert Einstein in 1931, the Catholic Church’s Pope Pius XII in 1951, and, with a front-page article titled “Signals Imply a ‘Big Bang’ Universe,” the New York Times in 1965. By the 1980s, it had become society’s dominant cosmology, replacing the eternal universe model—which argued the universe had no beginning—that most scientists previously believed.
Four decades later, the Big Bang remains dominant and is often stated as fact—but what if it’s wrong? Could it be keeping us away from exploring supposedly unattainable technologies like antigravity, faster-than-light travel, and powerful forms of clean energy? This is what I’ve come to suspect after spending four years researching classified government projects, extraterrestrials, and cosmology, which has been called “the queen of the sciences” because it informs every other discipline.
Culture affects what “makes sense” to scientists, observed Eric Lerner in The Big Bang Never Happened (1991). In a century of chronic global war, of existentialism and nuclear bombs and antidepressants, the idea of a small, doomed universe—destined to expand until everything is frozen or else contract back to a singularity before maybe expanding again—made sense. But this doesn’t mean it’s accurate.
One problem with the Big Bang, according to Lerner, is that structures exist which seem older than 13.8 billion years. A supercluster complex found in 1986 needed a hundred billion years to form—based on the observed speed of galaxies—and things up to 10 times as large, like the Hercules–Corona Borealis Great Wall, have been seen. Another problem is that the theory needs much more gravity than stars and other known matter produce—gravity that has been attributed to “dark matter.” Two other anomalies have also been explained away with terms: “inflation” and “dark energy.” These may be what scientists call “ad hocs”—things that are invented to save a theory from conflicting evidence.
When people theorized Earth was the center of the universe, multiple ad hocs were introduced to try to make the inaccurate theory work—“epicycles’’ said the planets moved in subcircles, in addition to their orbits; “eccentrics” said the orbits were off-center; and so on. These “fixes” helped the geocentric model survive for 15 centuries, until the whole thing was replaced.
Geocentricism is an example of a Kuhnian crisis, in which a series of seemingly reasonable steps leads theorists deeper into a dead end. Kuhnian crises, which seem common in human history, are often followed by what has been called “model revolution,” in which many new models emerge to replace a failing paradigm.
“There would be no more nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, fracking, power lines, new pipelines, new roads, traffic jams, blackouts, or monthly energy bills. The largest industry—energy—would change from being destructive and unsustainable to helpful and healing.”
Swedish physicist Hannes Alfvén, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970, was skeptical of the Big Bang when he heard of it in 1939. The Big Bang cosmology failed, in his view, because it started with a theory and then tried to find evidence for it, instead of the other way around. It was myth, not science, he later wrote.
In the 1960s, Alfvén invented “plasma cosmology.” He developed his model of the universe over decades with a small group of colleagues, studying plasma—electrically conducting gases which make up 99.999% of the known universe—in labs and writing about it in books. While the Big Bang cosmology only considered gravitational forces, plasma cosmology also considered electromagnetic forces, which seemed to play a larger role than gravity in the structure of the cosmos.
By acknowledging electrodynamics, plasma cosmologists predicted the observable universe’s spongelike shape, with clusters, filaments, and sheets of galaxies surrounding giant voids. When I think about this sparse, freestanding structure, which also resembles neurons connected by synapses, I imagine it being a tiny part of a lifeform. It looks alive. When the cosmic web, as it’s often called, came into view in the 1980s with increasingly large surveys of the sky, Big Bang theorists were surprised. They’d expected the universe to be smooth and homogenous, not rough and fractal.
In the Big Bang model, the sphere of the observable universe is 93 billion light-years wide—wider than light can travel in 13.8 billion years—because space itself has been expanding. Due to this alleged expansion, Big Bang theorists don’t agree on the size of the entire universe, but a 2011 study suggested that it was at least 7 trillion light-years wide, 250 times wider than the observable part.
Plasma cosmologists, seeing no evidence for a beginning to the universe, presume it’s infinite in both size and time. It “has always existed, is always evolving, and will always evolve,” wrote Lerner, who, summarizing the work of Alfvén and others, argued that plasma cosmology explained galaxy formation, quasars, the cosmic microwave background (microwaves that are said to be from 380,000 years after the Big Bang), and other processes and phenomena better than the Big Bang, while also not requiring dark matter, dark energy, or other ad hocs.
In the 1990s, plasma cosmology evolved into the Electric Universe model, whose most known proponent might be Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill. In “The Electric Universe Heresy,” a 2020 essay, Thornhill shared the model’s arguments, including that (1) gravity is a type of electric force; (2) information can go anywhere instantly, and so the speed of light is not, as Einstein argued, the fastest that anything can travel; (3) so-called empty space is not empty: it is an aether of invisibly tiny particles; and (4) light is not both a wave and a particle, as quantum mechanics—mainstream physics’ model of the atomic and subatomic worlds—assumes; rather, it is a wave that moves through the aether.
The Electric Universe cosmology, given billions of dollars and decades of study, might produce an intergalactic internet, aether-powered antigravity craft, and affordable “free energy” machines—able to generate nonpolluting, off-grid electricity in each home, replacing fossil fuels, which kill an estimated 8 to 10 million people per year through air pollution alone, and nuclear power plants, which continually produce waste that remains radioactive for hundreds of millennia.
There would be no more nuclear meltdowns, oil spills, fracking, power lines, new pipelines, new roads, traffic jams, blackouts, or monthly energy bills. The largest industry—energy—would change from being destructive and unsustainable to helpful and healing. Technologies based on a better understanding of the physical world could transmute toxic waste into inert dust, among other remedial tasks.
By contrast, the Big Bang cosmology—which is based on Einstein’s models of light, time, space, and gravity from his 1905 and 1916 theories of relativity—has not produced anything new in terms of travel or energy. We have the same land-based cars and gas-powered planes, the same plodding and polluting form of rocket-powered space travel, and the same fossil fuels we’ve been using for centuries.
The Electric Universe is conducive to progressive social change, while the Big Bang “breeds a fatalistic pessimism that paralyzes society,” wrote Lerner. This makes sense to me, not just because I view the Big Bang as a bleak, typically nature-simplifying creation of dominator culture—the regressive form of society that we seem to be embedded in—but also because it keeps people away from cosmologies that could lead to health-improving, society-helping, Earth-saving technologies.
Infinite Universe Theory
One of the newest alternatives to the Big Bang was introduced in Infinite Universe Theory (2017) by geologist Glenn Borchardt, who argued that paradigm shifts in physics and cosmology are “the job of scientists who are not physicists and cosmologists.” Borchardt agreed with the Electric Universe on many points—that aether exists, electrons have parts, light is a wave, the universe is eternal, and the universe is not expanding—but had different ideas on gravity and explored different topics.
Borchardt viewed the universe as infinite in space and time, and also, as he especially considered, scale. His Infinite Universe cosmology suggested that the scalar path—traveled by “zooming” in, from animal to bacterium to atom, or out, from star to galaxy to cosmic sponge—continues forever in both directions, internally and externally, implying that each electron in my brain contains infinite worlds.
Humans can access other scales of the universe with microscopes and telescopes, staring at the same place to see increasingly small and large things. What might a trillion-year-old civilization see with their microscopes? If we’re inside a brain, will we one day see, trillions of trillions of light-years away, the inside of a skull? Humans can also zoom without technology, using language, imagination, art, dreams, and maybe drugs. When I inhaled DMT, I seemed to leave my room for an unfamiliar, nonphysical world, but maybe I just zoomed into my body or beyond the cosmic sponge.
A hierarchically infinite universe allows us to imagine other worlds being both connected to and separated from our own. The nanometer world of molecules—a billion times smaller than the meter world of humans—is inaccessible to me because, among other reasons, I can’t crush a molecule with my finger like I could an ant. But the two worlds are connected in other ways: I can ingest molecules to change my reality. Maybe humans, locking into Earth like molecules in receptors, are drugs to higher life-forms.
In Borchardt’s cosmology, everything is unique because all objects are infinitely complex, with infinite parts. No two galaxies, animals, snowflakes, or even electrons are the same. Electrons could be composed of as many aetherons—aether particles—as a snowflake has atoms, with each aetheron itself being made of smaller particles, ad infinitum. There is no smallest or largest thing, and, because there will always be things too small or too large to detect, we will always be surrounded by mystery.
Gravity, which to Newton was a pull, and to Einstein was geometric, to Borchardt is a push. It occurs because aetherons—which surround and permeate everything, and which might be vortices, like solar systems and galaxies—decelerate when they hit objects. The aetherons near Earth are therefore slower than the more distant aetherons, which, being faster, produce a higher aether pressure, pushing us down to Earth. In Borchardt’s view, mainstream physicists can’t explain the physical causes for gravity, charge, or magnetism because they erroneously believe there is no aether.
People have argued for the existence of an aether since at least the 1600s. In 1690, Christiaan Huygens theorized that light is a wave propagating through an aether. His theory was popular until Einstein’s theory of special relativity dispensed with the aether in 1905 by saying that light is both a wave and a particle, and so it doesn’t need a medium to travel. Experiments around then, by Michelson and Morley, supposedly disproved the aether, but Borchardt and others have pointed out that the experiments didn’t consider that the aether might be entrained to Earth.
“Humans can also zoom without technology, using language, imagination, art, dreams, and maybe drugs. When I inhaled DMT, I seemed to leave my room for an unfamiliar, nonphysical world, but maybe I just zoomed into my body or beyond the cosmic sponge.”
Getting rid of the aether (“aether denial,” as Borchardt calls it) may have led to a labyrinthine Kuhnian crisis for mainstream physics in general—a large dead end with its own grim cosmology and expensive fields of study. In The Higgs Fake (2013), German physicist Alexander Unzicker argued that the Standard Model of particle physics—which assumes the Big Bang happened, denies aether, and might be the best-funded branch of physics—has “an ad-hoc methodology” and is “a futile enterprise in its entirety.”
I read The Higgs Fake to better understand why mainstream physicists view antigravity as obviously impossible. I wanted to understand this more because I’d gotten convinced, after reading around 20 books on extraterrestrials, UFOs, classified technologies, and cosmology, that humans and other advanced lifeforms have already mastered antigravity and other magical-seeming technologies.
Particle physicists don’t consider gravity in their model, I learned from The Higgs Fake with surprise and amusement. In particle physics—which uses billion-dollar particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Collider to smash protons together to replicate the Big Bang, possibly a futile goal—there is “an utter separation of gravity from the rest of physics,” wrote Unzicker, who thinks the field of 10,000-plus physicists “deliberately disregards” gravity because it’s too hard to understand.
To Unzicker, physics entered a dead end in 1930. To Borchardt, it happened in 1905. Wallace Thornhill wrote, “Sadly, we have wasted a century or more.” Einstein, who himself had doubts, wrote to a colleague in 1949, six years before he died, “You can imagine that I look back on my life’s work with calm satisfaction. But from nearby it looks quite different. There is not a single concept of which I am convinced that it will stand firm, and I feel uncertain whether I am in general on the right track.”
Physics—the study of matter—seems to have split into two paths more than a century ago. The new path, based on the Big Bang cosmology and Einstein’s theories, is taught in schools, discussed in popular culture, explored in thousands of books, approved by governments, and awarded Nobel Prizes. This path confidently states that gravity control, superluminal speeds, and overunity—when a system generates more energy than it consumes—are impossible.
The older, original path is explored in relative obscurity, without the support of mainstream society. People on this path include those mentioned in this essay and their predecessors, like Nikolai Kozyrev, who called the aether “time,” and Nikola Tesla, who called Einstein’s theories of relativity “a mass of error and deceptive ideas,” and said unlimited energy could be harvested from cosmic rays, Earth itself, and the aether.
Maybe these two paths exist of their own accord, as competing models of reality, and the more accurate one will soon gain wide acceptance and change society for the better. But I doubt the situation is that simple, in part because the most advanced technologies in our global dominator society are reserved for weaponization and other matters of “national security.”
To me, it seems more likely that the two paths are varyingly monitored and influenced, with the secret one being suppressed and the public one being promoted as fact, consciously and unconsciously, by (1) groups who want to keep certain technologies for themselves; (2) the fossil fuel and nuclear power industries; and (3) other entities benefitting from the status quo, like governments and corporations in general.
This would help explain why we think Einstein is so smart, why modern physics has so much funding and credibility, and why the Big Bang is our dominant cosmology, even though in 2018 only 38% of Americans “correctly,” according to the National Science Foundation, judged this statement to be true: “The universe began with a huge explosion.”