Referee report. For: Does standard cosmology really predict the cosmic microwave background? [version 4; peer review: 1 approved, 3 not approved]
In standard Big Bang cosmology, the universe expanded from a very dense, hot and opaque initial state. The light that was last scattered about 380,000 years later, when the universe had become transparent, has been redshifted and is now seen as thermal radiation with a temperature of 2.7 K, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). However, since light escapes faster than matter can move, it is prudent to ask how we, made of matter from this very source, can still see the light. In order for this
... In order for this to be possible, the light must take a return path of the right length. A curved return path is possible in spatially closed, balloon-like models, but in standard cosmology, the universe is "flat" rather than balloon-like, and it lacks a boundary surface that might function as a reflector. Under these premises, radiation that once filled the universe homogeneously cannot do so permanently after expansion, and we cannot see the last scattering event. It is shown that the traditional calculation of the CMB temperature is inappropriate and that light emitted by any source inside the Big Bang universe earlier than half its "conformal age" can only become visible to us via a return path. Although often advanced as the best evidence for a hot Big Bang, the CMB actually tells against a formerly smaller universe and so do also distant galaxies.