When watching last week’s BBC Horizon, I was disappointed to see the singularity and inflation still at the root of big bang theories. That’s despite the fact that two key subjects were brought up very early – causation itself (which is actually not discussed further), and the logical problem with the idea of time itself before the universe existed, if the whole universe (including time) does start with the big bang. So I watched it again.
OK, good to hear that it is mainstream to think that the current “universe” is a region of space-time that arose (through a big-bang event) in a pre-existing super-multi-universe …. hooray, multi-verses are no longer a quantum hack, they are indeed connected by time and n-dimensional space and the laws of physics. (Interesting that people just put aside the “first-cause” problem – in accepting pre-existing / always-existed super-universe and of many possible adjacent and successive universes, no beginning, no end, but hey, ho.) Weak to suggest this is an evolutionary / Darwinian model simply because this (each) universe has an ancestor, chicken and egg, unless there is also some evidence of genetic inheritance, but an attractive analogy. [Post Note : genetic inheritance is one part of Rick's argument - see links below. The new universe does inherit from the state (asymmetries / constants / boundary conditions / etc.) of physical laws from the previous one in which the bang occurs - so no mystery on meaningless coincidences (except first-cause of course).]
But why, oh why, to keep looking for radical speculative solutions to the “cause” of the big bang, without going back to existing known physics explanations, that were only dropped to make way for inflation / size and dark-matter / energy / cosmological-constant discrepancies in deriving the standard model ? (Negative gravity, events inside black-holes, collisions between branes, you name it ?)
Mersini-Houghton’s wave solution sounded the most convincing, but not clear why string-theory was mentioned ? Insufficient material in the programme to know anything about the actual theory she is using other than first-principle-wave-equations with no physical boundary conditions. [* Post Note: Boscovich UFT ?]
(Roll-call : Kaku, Linde, Singh, Smolin, Turok, Penrose, Nichol, Giaimi, Mersini-Houghton)
Actually I only went back to this previous edition of Horizon on-line because of a random Facebook contact with Rick Ryals today, that led me to look back at his three key knols and the various arxiv references from there (below). Having got rid of the “preposterous” conjectures, the cosmologists need to wind back to fundamental physics in the one consistent super-multi-universe again. We’ve got so focussed on the “creation” god vs science debate in the current climate, that we have failed to notice that the workings of the current super / multi-universe are no longer dependent on any attempt to explain something from nothing. Cosmologists have forgotten that they’re not really physicists. Something rather than nothing is still a massively interesting question, but not a scientific one thank god.
Physics is science, and cosmogeny is metaphysics or theology again. Phew!
Rick’s links …. the order of reading is important …
Or if you can read only one, read How Politics Kills Science
Rick Ryals’ – Einstein’s Universe, No “Biggest Blunder”
Rick Ryals’ – Goldilocks Enigma, Cosmological Constant from First Principles
**>> Rick Ryals’ – Anthropic Principle, How Politics Kills Science
Brandon Carter’s - seminal work on Anthropic Principles
Richard Lieu - cosmology is groping in the dark unscientifically
Larry Kraus - the energy of empty space that isn’t zero
P Z Myers, Jerry Coyne & Sam Harris – Religion Pollutes Science
Peter Rowlands’ Dirac ReWrite – From Zero to Infinity
And that Larry Kraus quote, quoted by Rick from the above,
“… there appears to be energy of empty space that isn’t zero! This flies in the face of all conventional wisdom in theoretical particle physics. It is the most profound shift in thinking, perhaps the most profound puzzle … … when we look out at the universe, there doesn’t seem to be enough structure — not as much as inflation would predict … … when you look at CMB (Cosmic Microwave Background) map, you also see that the structure that is observed, is in fact, in a weird way, correlated with the plane of the earth around the sun. Is this Copernicus coming back to haunt us? That’s crazy. We’re looking out at the whole universe. There’s no way there should be a correlation of structure with our motion of the earth around the sun — the plane of the earth around the sun — the ecliptic … … telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is simply incorrect, or … maybe there’s something wrong with our theories on the larger scales.”
“Our” theories notice. Our position as observers on earth IS privileged (as observers that is, observers that had to be here because of the laws of physics, but not because of us as creators, except insofar as we “construct” our world-view, yes, even you physicists and theologians; philosophers already knew it).
[Post Note : updated Rick's links since Google Knol went down, and highlighted the key link.]