Review of Ratcliff’s “The Static Universe”

PSI Blog 20190731 Review of Ratcliff’s “The Static Universe”

Below is a belated review of:

Ratcliffe, Hilton, 2010, The Static Universe: Exploding the Myth of Cosmic Expansion: Montreal, Canada, C. Roy Keys Incorporated, 239 p.

As perceptive readers know, we believe the idea the universe is expanding is ridiculous. Hilton Ratcliffe, a South African astrophysicist, seems to agree. The blurb for his book states:

“"The Static Universe" is an anthem for the growing number of skywatchers who are heartily sick and tired of being led up the garden path. Is the Universe expanding? Maverick astrophysicist Hilton Ratcliffe, author of the highly controversial book "The Virtue of Heresy", argues that it is not, and if he's right, an entire body of science is brought to its knees. The impact of the ensuing catastrophe will be devastating, and the cost to those who doggedly defend the prevailing paradigm is inestimable. It certainly runs to billions of dollars. In a world where self-interest rules, the author of this shocking expos is literally putting himself on the line. Big Brother does not want you to read this!”

First off, I do not like the title. Strictly speaking, the universe is not static. Absolutely everything in the universe is always in motion with respect to everything else. I would never use terms such as “static” or “steady state” to describe the Infinite Universe, though as shown below Radcliffe says cosmologists commonly do that.

Now let’s see what Hilton thinks.[1] I will use plenty of quotes so you can get a feel for the book:

The “expanding universe picture currently known as the Lambda-Cold Dark Matter Model (abbreviated…LCDMM). …Lambda…refers to a repulsive gravitational effect, a negative force counteracting the collapse of the Universe so vigorously that it is said to be blowing everything apart. It’s commonly called Dark (3)[2] Energy. Opposing this Dark Energy is an attractive impetus emanating from Dark Matter, described as “cold” in the model because it does not radiate. Like Dark Energy, Dark Matter is completely invisible. Because it manifests as halos around large, visible objects, Dark Matter must also be absolutely transparent.” (4)

A bit of clarification: “we propose that the Universe is static. In the terminology of cosmology, that does not imply that it is standing still. The term “static” refers to an absence of a global, all-encompassing motion, and is usually taken to mean nonexpansion. Basically, this means that the Universe is not evolving…it is not as an entire organism advancing from a primitive state. …The Standard Model attempts to prove expansion by assuming expansion. …extremely poor science.” (9)

“The Universe as we perceive it is a hierarchy of systems, percolating up from beneath micro-atoms to way beyond macro-galaxies…” (10)

“Lemaitre told us in 1924 that fiery creation issued forth from what he euphemistically described as a ‘primordial atom', which somehow exploded and drove the galaxies apart.” (14)

He lists 11 requirements for expansion:
1.   Homogeneous and isotropic (Cosmological Principle [CP])
2.   Large objects moving away, but no large objects (CP)
3.   Mechanism to drive expansion (space-time)
4.   Finite limits to space and time
5.   [All] redshifts increasing uniformly over distance
6.   Evolution of structure correlated with redshift
7.   Evolution of all chemicals and forces from particles
8.   Bottom up large-scale formation
9.   Solution to the horizon problem via Inflation Theory
10. Uniform radio wave picture of the early universe
11.  Complete consistency with SRT and GRT

And writes “Not a single one of these requirements is met.” (16)

His argument:

1.   “Expansion…suggest[s] creation of space itself (essentially, the creation of energy).”
2.   “The Universe appears to be infinite. There is nothing indicating it is finite. Olbers’ Paradox carries no weight…”
3.   “The ad hoc imposition of inflation defies established physics”
4.   “The Hubble Law is a fallacy…a static Universe can present the redshift in a variety of ways.”
5.   The CMB is simply a diffuse image of local astrophysical structure at the equilibrium temperature of starlight”
6.   “A nonexpanding Universe does not contradict the observed abundances of elements…”
7.   “Higher redshift objects are not necessarily less mature, less bright, and closer together, or crucially, further away, than those with lower redshift values.” (18)

“Creation, whether of the entire Universe or just part of it, cannot proceed from nothing at all. Every created effect must necessarily…be given by creating cause. Since this is logically true for all cases, the infinite Universe is proven.” “The rock star status of Albert Einstein in the 1920s and (19) Stephen Hawking today was driven by fans that, with respect, hadn’t a clue what those gentlemen were actually on about.” (20)

“Observational astronomers and astrophysicists using empiricism to derive their explanations of the cosmos would tend to concentrate on the first two tenets of cosmology, and…would lean towards redshift because the microwave background requires horrendous mathematical manipulation before it makes sense in the BBT context.” (26)

“As a physicist used to dealing with real things, I know that the expansion paradigm is more than extraordinary, far beyond unlikely, just hopeless wishful thinking. I should be very surprised if an observation or experiment can be contrived to unambiguously support it.” “fluctuations in the energy levels of light will be an effect resulting from a cocktail of causes because space is not empty. We can consequently state with certainty that some weariness will result as light fights its way across the Universe…” (33)

Z=v/c, so any z>1 involves >c recession, a problem solved by this regressive ad hoc Hilton considers incredulous:

“Although the galaxies weren’t actually moving apart, the space between them was expanding. That stretched the light waves, and dilated time itself, without causing the measurable distance between galaxies to increase.” (36)

This explains a lot about why perfectly empty space, Dark Energy, time dilation, and Universal Inflation are the Four Horsemen, so to speak, of cosmogony and regressive physics. All four are critical ad hocs for saving the Big Bang Theory in the current age of observed redshifts greater than 1. Perspicacious readers know that perfectly empty space cannot exist because it is an idealization; Dark Energy does not exist because it is a calculation; Time cannot dilate because it is motion; and the whole Universal Inflation idea is a failure to interpret Cosmological redshifts as a simple function of distance, not recession. In other words, if we could see light from an infinite distance, redshift z values and the calculated recessional velocities would be infinite. That could never happen of course, but the very thought of it illustrates the absurdity of Einstein’s theory of light with its gross violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Like everything else in the universe, light simply cannot travel perpetually without losing energy as foretold by the lengthening of its waves through the aether.     

One of Ratcliffe’s mistakes is this:

“light from the middle of the Sun covers a smaller distance getting to us than light from the extremities…gravitational redshift is independent of centre of limb, so the only conclusion solar physicists could reach is that light travelling the greater distance passes through more space, and thus interacts with more (67) particles. It is a clear observational demonstration that light loses energy as a function of travel time through a particulate medium. Therefore…all cosmological redshift is tired light.” (68)

Those who have read the sections on “Gravitational Redshift” in “Universal Cycle Theory”[3] and “Infinite Universe Theory”[4] know that the redshift from a light source is due to increases in distal aether pressure and consequent increase in the velocity of light. The slightly higher velocity causes an increase in wavelength. It is not an indicator of energy loss and “tired light.” In fact, the Cosmological redshift is not detected at distances even as close as the Local Group (which Hilton acknowledges elsewhere). Although his concluding sentence is partly true, it does not follow from the evidence presented. The opposite occurs for travel through particulate matter (e.g., wavelengths shorten as they travel slower through water).

He should have known better because he has a whole chapter on quasars, which are extremely massive, bright objects with high redshifts. I believe those are actually gravitational redshifts that have nothing to do with cosmological distance or recessional velocity. That is why Arp had so many observations showing them in close juxtaposition with low-redshift galaxies.[5] 

As I did in the early chapters of "Infinite Universe Theory," Hilton displays a photo of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field showing the “elderly galaxy” falsification of the Big Bang Theory. (153) He wraps up with these words: “Is the Universe expanding? It would appear not. What do we see? We do not see, let alone measure, large objects systematically moving away from all other large objects. On the contrary, it would seem to be quite the opposite, a least in the case of colliding spiral galaxies.” (209)


Upon reading the title, I thought I may have missed something majorly important in the dissident literature before writing "Infinite Universe Theory." That was not to be. Like numerous reformists, Radcliffe presents many convincing arguments against the Big Bang Theory. This is particularly impressive in that he is a bonifide physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. However, like many similar books, this one only amounts to being a long grumble session without presenting a clear alternative. Nonetheless, Hilton has an interesting perspective for a skeptical empiricist. I was particularly struck by his mentioning how desperate cosmogonists reconciled the supposed recessional velocities greater than the velocity of light. For decades, I guess I have been tuned out to the more ridiculous ad hocs such as the hypothesized expanding space, stretching light wave/particles, and dilating time.

As mentioned, by “Static Universe” Radcliffe really means “Infinite Universe.” The book is one small step toward the only possible alternative to the Big Bang Theory. Many reformists are unaware of that likely fact. Nevertheless, the book is missing key ingredients that would make it a viable theory. It needs a list of fundamental assumptions, a section on the neomechanical approach, a section on the analytical methodology, sections providing resolutions to problems, contradictions, and paradoxes presented by Big Bang Theory, and a set of predictions that can be tested by observation or experiment.

[1] Ratcliffe, Hilton, 2010, The static universe: Exploding the myth of cosmic expansion [abs.], in Volk, Greg, Proceedings of the Natural Philosophy Alliance, 17th Conference of the NPA, 23-26 June: Long Beach, California, Natural Philosophy Alliance, Mt. Airy, MD, v. 7, p. 1-2.

[2] Numbers in parentheses refer to pages in the text.

[3] Puetz, Stephen J., and Borchardt, Glenn, 2011, Universal cycle theory: Neomechanics of the hierarchically infinite universe: Denver, Outskirts Press, 626 p. [http://www.scientificphilosophy.com/].

[4] Borchardt, Glenn, 2017, Infinite Universe Theory: Berkeley, California, Progressive Science Institute, 343 p. [http://go.glennborchardt.com/IUTebook].

[5] Arp, Halton, 1998, Seeing red: Redshifts, cosmology and academic science: Montreal, Apeiron, 306 p.

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