On 1/25/2012 2:05 AM, meekerdb wrote:
On 1/24/2012 8:27 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
On 1/24/2012 9:47 PM, meekerdb wrote:
On 1/24/2012 6:08 PM, Stephen P. King wrote:
1. I see the Big Bang theory as a theory, an explanatory model
that attempts to weave together all of the relevant observational
facts together into a scheme that is both predictive and
explanatory. It has built into it certain ontological and
epistemological premises that I have some doubts about.
Let us start with the heavily camouflaged idea that we can get
something, a universe!, out of Nothing.
It is not at all camouflaged; Lawrence Krause just wrote a book called
"A Universe From Nothing". That the universe came from nothing is
suggested by calculations of the total energy of the universe.
Theories of the origin of the universe have been developed by
Alexander Vilenkin, Stephen Hawking and James Hartle. Of course the
other view is that there cannot have been Nothing and Something is the
But note that this calculation, which flows inevitably from our
knowledge of conservation laws, is done ex post facto, after the fact.
We are here, experiencing a universe, and noticing that it is finite
both in the spatial and temporal sense. Is this not what we should
expect an entity that has a finite limit on its ability to observe? We
seem to easily forget or ignore the full implication of finiteness! B/c
of the way that time and spatial aspects cannot be taken as separate,
the total universe could very well be infinite but we would never
observe that totality if only because of the finite limits on resolution
of our senses, no matter how extended they might be with technology.
I am making a big deal of this as it is the reason why I have been
arguing strongly against naive realism while warning against equally
fallacious alternatives. The philosophical problems that we have been
discussing in this List are very tough but I believe that we have a
combined brain trust very capable of figuring this stuff out. :-)
2. Dark energy is nothing more than a conjectured-to-exist entity
until we have a better explanation for the effects that it was
conjectured to explain. We have never actually detected it. What we
have detected is that certain super-novae seem to have light that
appears to indicate that the super-novae are accelerating away from
us. This was an unexpected observation that was not predicted by
the Big Bang theory so the BBT was amended to include a new entity.
So be it. But my line of questions is: At what point are we going
to keep adding entities to BBT before we start wondering if there
is something fundamentally wrong with it?
I think what you refer to as the Big Bang Theory is called the
concordance theory in the literature. It includes the hot Big Bang,
inflation, and vacuum energy. The reason Dark Energy (so called in
parallel with Dark Matter) was so readily accepted is that it was
already in General Relativity in the form of the cosmological
constant. It didn't have to be amended; just accept that a
parameter wasn't exactly zero.
A "constant" that Einstein himself called the "greatest mistake
of his life".
Only because it caused him to miss predicting the expansion of the
universe - or maybe you don't believe the universe is expanding.
Not so. The augmented field equations are unstable and strongly
dependent on the precise choice of the Cauchy hypersurface input. The
cosmological constant is a two-edged sword because it can give a
universe that almost instantly collapses or explodes. You would do well
to read up more on it.
The problem is that one can add an arbitrary number of such scalar
field terms to one's field equations. Frankly IMHO, it is more
"something from nothing" nonsense.
But you can't add any others that are simpler than the curvature
terms, which are second order, except the constant CC term.
OK, I will bow to your knowledge of the math on this point.
It is not possible to prove that something exists in an absolute
sense, for who is the ultimate arbiter of that question?
There is no ultimate arbiter. What is thought to exist is model
dependent and it changes as theories change to explain new data.
WOW! We been informed that we can now make things pop in and out
of existence merely by shifting our belief systems. Who might have
imagined such a wondrous possibility! Umm, NO. Existence is not
subject to our perceptions, theories of whatever.
Read more carefully. I wrote "What is *thought* to exist..."; which
is obviously true. We thought atoms existed long before they could be
imaged. We think quarks exist based on a theory that says they can't
OK, but you get my point I hope. What I am trying to drive home is
that we must be very careful with our use of the word "exist". There is
a point where in our drive to have a theory that is invariant with
respect to point of view we completely obviate the utility of the theory
as predictive by being such as ourselves.
"The most reasonable belief is that we came from nothing, by
nothing, and for nothing."
--- Quentin Smith
What a pathetic and sad philosophy to embrace. Why even bother
living an instant longer?
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