The mid-20th century British polymath Fred Hoyle helped discover that chemical elements could be synthesized in stars. This gave him a lot of credibility in scientific circles. Hoyle was also convinced that the universe must have existed in its current conditions for an infinitely long time, the "steady state" theory of cosmology. Hoyle found the idea that the universe could have originated as a tiny point at a particular moment in time absurd. In 1950 he argued that the universe could not possibly have begun in a "big bang!"DavidLeodis wrote:... Why is the Big Bang so called, as it is said that noise cannot be heard in Space so surely the bang would not also! Perhaps it should be called the 'Big but silent Bang'!
"This instantaneous creation of the universe is like a party girl jumping out of a birthday cake, it's ridiculous. I call it the big bang." — Fred Hoyle
The name stuck. In 1963 Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Laboratories accidentally discovered microwaves still radiating from this ridiculous "big bang."
I wonder which current theories are where the steady state theory was in 1950: held by the majority of experts in the field and supported by a preponderance of available evidence -- and which currently ridiculous ideas will turn out to be prescient big bangs. Time will tell.