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An eternal universe and the 'special plead' of God [cosmology]

Discussion in 'Physical & Life Sciences' started by theoneandonlypencil, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    That pesky descriptivist language theory makes the prescriptivist one seem so much more simplistic in nature, as if science doesn't have particular terminology that one supposedly versed in science would know. Except when they move the goalposts to dismiss one theory and present what's a hypothesis at best (static universe), given present knowledge (and worse than that, seems to try and use Occam's razor but more just shuts down discussion because they don't want science to remotely acknowledge quantum mechanics in any sense, because then they can't prop up science's limits to claim a simple answer is necessarily the best one in any given context)
     
  2. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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  3. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    The lines get awfully fuzzy when one adds hypothetical forms of matter and energy to a "model" and then calls it a "big bang theory". :) Admittedly most professionals might use the term model but it still contains hypothetical entities. The terminology tends to be pretty convoluted in cosmology in particular.

    You seem to refer to the BB model as a "theory" rather than a hypothesis, yet it's composed of at least three hypothetical forms of matter and energy, and another hypothetical process which cannot be duplicated in the lab (space expansion). I think you're a little too hasty when it comes to assigning the term "theory" to the big bang model.

    I think it is justifiable to attempt to use Occam's razor to find the 'simplest" explanation for something like redshift and galaxy formation patterns. It may not always be reliable, but it's still a valid scientific method.

    I'm not sure why you assume that other cosmology models are in any way "threatened" by quantum mechanics. I would simply balk at making a ton of unnecessary hypothetical "assumptions" based on QM (or GR) that really aren't "testable".
     
  4. Chesterton

    Chesterton Whats So Funny bout Peace Love and Understanding Supporter

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    The key phrase is "the universe as we know it", which might as well be shortened to "the universe". Science can't study what it doesn't know of.
    Sounds like some kind of double-speak. If they make testable predictions, that makes them
    "scientific". But if they're not testable, they're also scientific. So any idea anyone could dream up is science.
     
  5. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    And the most beautiful of those theories made by plausible ideas added starting from existing theories, the grand theory that answered so many questions....appears to have been, or is looking a lot like, it may have always been a castle in the air. See, when supersymmetry fails, so does the bigger theory, the TOE that so many have believed in, the prominent one we all have read a lot about when reading in cosmology over the years. I'm not glad or sad, though it would have been fun for us to figure out so many things.

    This is a helpful blog entry by a pretty good physics explainer (and prof) about it, which I like in how it connects so many dots (even more than a lot of other good articles):
    Why Supersymmetry May Be The Greatest Failed Prediction In Particle Physics History
     
  6. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    Quite - the point is that we know the limitations of the models we use to describe the big bang, and they fail before we can say we've reached back to an absolute beginning. We also know the theory we need to deal with that regime - quantum gravity. Unfortunately, we don't have a complete formulation of quantum gravity, so we are unable to say whether there was an absolute beginning or something else.

    You may have misunderstood - scientific theories make both testable and untestable predictions; they are scientific theories because the key predictions they make have been repeatedly tested and they are well accepted. The untestable predictions they make obviously haven't been tested, but a reasonable argument has been made that those predictions can be considered scientific to the extent that they are the predictions of a scientific theory, and that they are falsifiable by falsification of that theory. The scientific value attributed to such predictions typically depends on the additional assumptions - if any - they require.
     
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  7. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    The TOE was always a distant goal - supersymmetry seemed to be a big and plausible step towards it because of its 'naturalness', i.e. it's simplicity, symmetry, and elegance in answering a significant number of puzzles/problems. I doubt that physicists will abandon the naturalness principle altogether, it's been too successful, but perhaps it will be a case of once-bitten-twice-shy. They'll be torn in two directions - that the expected super-partners have not been found is disappointing but also exciting, suggesting new and unexpected physics, but the fact that nothing else has been found in their place is disappointing - the path seems like a cul-de-sac but no alternatives beckon.

    Time will tell.
     
  8. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    We could try to get more exact in wording about "testable" in physics here.

    Most physics theories provide predictions that are testable, and either testable immediately, or in principle once technology allows, and with the caveat that some few theories might not be testable (here in this universe in which we are constrained to be) without a very advanced technology we cannot yet see how to arrive at, but are still in principle testable by making exact predictions that could be measured in principle, once we are able to someday.

    And then there are theories that no matter how elegant make their main predictions about things that could never be measured, not ever, in this Universe.

    If such a theory did make any unique prediction about something in this Universe, then that is a testable thing, and if no other competing theories account for that measurement, it would be quite significant.

    But lacking that you are left only with elegance.

    Elegance is not enough: Low energy SUSY had a lot of elegance.... But is now disproved.



     
  9. FrumiousBandersnatch

    FrumiousBandersnatch Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't argue with that - except that hypotheses that are not testable at all do not become scientific theories.
     
  10. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    So where does that put/leave concepts like "dark matter". While it's possible to test a specific model of DM, it's impossible to test *all possible* models of DM. Is something really a "testable" concept if it can't ever hope to be falsified? Inflation is quite similar. Most of it's so called "predictions" were actually "postidictions", and now there are multiple versions of it to choose from. Concepts like "space expansion as a cause of redshift" cannot be directed "tested" in controlled experiments, and there could be other possible ways to explain cosmological redshift. Likewise the concept itself was 'postdicted' from observation and it doesn't really make any unique "predictions".

    The concept of testability tends to fall apart in cosmology. Some aspects of the expansion model can be "tested", but direct falsification is pretty much impossible. For instance the original expansion model "predicted" a decelerating universe. When early SN1A evidence suggested the universe might be accelerating rather that decelerating, 'dark energy' was simply added to the mix. Recent studies have since undermined that original conclusion from SN1A evidence, but nothing prevents the mainstream from removing it again, and/or dreaming up a "work around" while salvaging the expansion model.

    Particle physics is somewhat of a different animal because it can directly 'test' ideas like low energy SUSY theory and it has the ability to falsify at least some such models. Then again, it's possible to push the energy states up in SUSY theory to beyond the threshold of the LHC's ability to "test" them, and posit new mathematical models. Again, while *some* SUSY theories can be tested in an ordinary manner, falsifying the whole SUSY concept outright is pretty much impossible.
     
  11. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    So basically an argument from ignorance, which is the antithesis of scientific investigation


    The current models are the best explanation we have given the observations, static universe just handwaves various problems away with stuff that's in the vein of supernatural nonsense far more than hypothetical energy that could reasonably be observed with technological advances, rather than just assuming some cyclical nature to a universe that isn't expanding in any sense and gravity is secondary at best




    When you reduce the scale, you reduce the effectiveness to which you can observe what requires that scale to make sense. A lab for a galaxy is hardly possible, but it doesn't mean we can't measure and consider those measurements with a reasonable methodology rather than expecting the kind of testability we'd have for smaller scale considerations



    Limited data is kind of a necessary start with hypothetical models that haven't gotten to the level of scientific theory quite yet.

    And the information we gain is not such that we need to work with preconceptions that only make sense if you put blinders on to other possibilities that don't assume that the universe is somehow simultaneously dynamic and static rather than it being a dynamic state like Big Bang theory posits.



    I don't think I remotely insinuated it would solve that problem, as much as I understand it, I'm saying it would enable better understanding of other aspects that you seem to think are unimportant because they aren't so easily observable and interpreted in a skewed framework of a static infinite universe



    Recycling doesn't eliminate entropy, that's naive even if we're just talking recycling of plastic and such, there's still energy wasted in the process



    And your model is based on maintaining a status quo because of what "seems" to be the case, which is hardly scientific in the slightest, because our human perspective doesn't automatically validate something if it's internally consistent to a particular preconception not subject to correction (infinite and eternal are pretty unfalsifiable, I'd say)
     
  12. muichimotsu

    muichimotsu I Spit On Perfection

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    I'm not claiming expertise, you seem to, yet also are using extremely unscientific aspects of mere validity, which ignores the soundness of the facts themselves or the faulty reasoning you could be utilizing in understanding the facts


    See above: validity is not equivalent to truth, particular in terms of logical considerations about facts

    If you reduce science to testability, you might as well also believe evolution isn't a thing because we can't actually observe it to the degree that you'd require, which is goalpost shifting
     
  13. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    I like you said that.

    See, to me that's fundamental, and I've used that since probably early teens, just by reflection from things I was reading back then. It is worth thinking on of course, because of how far it reaches. :)

    I was just watching here this one philosopher giving his view about science knowledge (which is similar to my view in many ways) --
    Bas van Fraassen is a philosopher of science at San Francisco State University and a professor of philosophy emeritus at Princeton University


    So, when you keep trying to tell people (in various ways) their ideas about reality aren't reality (don't know if you are able to translate my wording here, but you may be able to), that's an old thing to me I've long assumed now, what I always assume, just to start. It's already what I thought.

    But the fact we are attempting to merely model reality doesn't prevent us from being potentially able to make an excellent parallel structure to whatever it is that is real, it turns out. (we can make models that actually are reliably predictive of independent real events; not vague stuff, but independent and real stuff like whether a planet will cease to exist as a distinct object due to predictable spiraling into a star or compact object (via drag or even gravitational radiation, etc.)

    To the great surprise of many, in history. That we can model reality, amazingly.

    We aren't even slightly slowed down by the fact we aren't....as complex as reality, in modeling it. We merely need a model -- and we could never do more than having a mere model! -- that simply works well, in a consistent reliable way, to accurately predict outcomes according to what we are testing.

    That fact we cannot perfectly know reality is so long my assumption I rarely think of it anymore, and just tend to assume everyone is assuming that. But people do often not seem to remember that, and get overly attached to their models. In physics though the general attitude is to seek inadequacies or failures in the models -- that's the goal. That's the daily aim.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  14. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    Eh? I'm not arguing that it's infinite or eternal because the opposite cannot be proven true. Even the mainstream model tends to suggest that the universe is infinite. The age aspect tends to be related to whether one believes that redshift is related to expansion in an expanding universe, or it's related to what Edwin Hubble and Fritz Zwicky called "tired light"/inelastic scattering.

    Plasma redshift has actually been *shown in the lab* to cause photons to lose momentum as light passes through a plasma medium. In fact Chen demonstrated a correlation between the number of free electrons in the plasma and the amount of redshift that he observed.

    On the other hand, "space expansion", and "dark energy" are *excellent* examples of "arguments from ignorance".

    Define "best". The LCDM model has failed more tests than it's ever passed, including two important tests in the last few months with respect to SN1A data and 'dark energy'. It requires *four* metaphysical constructs too, three of which can be replaced with ordinary plasma redshift that works in the lab.

    Like what? Plasma redshift is a *natural* process that occurs in labs on Earth.

    Except recent technological advances (and more data) have called the whole dark energy claim into question.

    Dark energy is based on a dubious assumption.

    Two recent (last few months) SN1A studies show that a larger data set of SN1A events does *not* support dark energy claims.

    Gravity is gravity, and it probably plays a central role in some aspects of cosmology, but it's not the *only* force of nature that has a direct effect on plasma.

    Admittedly there are limits to how one might try to scale something like gravity or EM fields on Earth, but all the core tenets of some cosmology models can be tested in a lab, which is not the case for the LCDM model.

    Sure, but in the case of the SN1A data, more data didn't *support* dark energy, it actually undermines it entirely.

    That statement works both ways however, and it's easy enough to put blinders on to alternatives to expansion models, in fact it's much more likely to occur.

    You'll have to be more specific. Like?

    In an infinite and eternal universe, how is any form of energy "wasted"? It changes forms over and over again, but energy cannot be created nor destroyed according to the laws of physics. Entropy isn't a simple question when things like gravity tend to pull things like dust and plasma together and organize them into suns and planets.

    I'd argue that the exact opposite is true. The LCDM model is the "status quo", whereas a static universe model *used* to be the status quo. Both models have proposed an "infinite' universe, and even the LCDM models requires the energy of the current physical universe to have come from somewhere, so it doesn't technically preclude an eternal universe. In fact the mainstream uses terms like "eternal inflation' and "multiverse" to describe the universe *prior* to the bang. I think you're making a mountain out of a molehill.
     
  15. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Trying to guess what you mean, to paraphrase I think maybe you mean just "Is something really 'testable' if one could not check on it, so that it would be potentially subject to possible falsification by contrary results to the model?" My answer that that is 'no'.

    Yes, that's my view also. It's not....necessarily that big of deal though. I don't place any special faith in the inflation idea, which seems a little ad hoc to a lot of physicists. I think a common attitude is it's sorta like a placeholder, where at best it would be incomplete as an understanding, if even correct. But something like it might have happened though, so it's not like it is ruled out. You could say that many have an attitude towards it somewhat like Einstein did towards the Copenhagen Interpretation -- that is only shows QM is incomplete. (and we know that with the huge amount of testing and also of other models and their testing, Copenhagen has only gotten more interesting in a way (at least to me), more intriguing)
     
  16. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    Well, I was 9 years old when we first landed men on the moon, which sparked a love of astronomy that has gone on for the next 5 decades. It's been a lifelong passion of mine, but I'm not a professional astronomer. I have however published few papers on the topic, including a couple in the Journal of Fusion energy.

    Again, you'll have to be specific. That's a tad vague. The "facts" as you call them tend to be 'interpretations' in most cases.

    I agree. While it's mathematically "valid" to posit space expansion, "space expansion" isn't a "fact". It's a "belief" based on a subjective interpretation. Redshift can be considered a "fact", but the *cause* of redshift is a subjective interpretation, not a fact.

    That's not the case however since HOX gene experiments demonstrate that even macroscopic evolutionary processes can occur in a single generation and microscopic variations have been *well documented*. Evolutionary theory is *far* more testable in the lab, and on Earth than cosmology models because evolution *occurs* on Earth.
     
  17. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    If a concept cannot be falsified, then it's ultimately just a form of "dogma". In that sense scientific 'dogma' is no better than religious dogma.

    That's already the case with dark energy and dark matter, and between them those two ideas make up 95 percent of the LCDM model. There's not much about the LCDM model that *is not* a placeholder term for human ignorance in fact. To be fair, inflation is not "technically" a part of the LCDM model, but it's typically included in most "big bang' presentations.

    Doesn't that border on an argument from ignorance fallacy? The fact we cannot disprove it doesn't really give it scientific credibility and all its core features were "postdictions", not really "predictions" in any conventional scientific sense.

    Fine, but in the meantime, I see no reason not to seek to explain the universe based on what we already know. We've tested "dark matter" claims in the lab to the tune of tens of billions of dollars at LHC, LUX, PandaX, Xenon-1T, etc, and it's failed every single test to date. Maybe it simply doesn't exist at all and we should consider alternatives to exotic forms of matter when trying to explain observations in space.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
  18. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    Ok, but for good practice, anyone should always or periodically ask/check/refresh: 'what additional observations are available, so that we can make good guesses (winnow down the field of possible models)?'

    In other words, suppose one already knows some things observed. Well, then, they should again, periodically, ask: What else has been found, to add to the observations that we can apply against all the possible models? (in other words, check again, and then later on, again, etc.)

    Let's try to get a good list. Here's a likely list (just below).

    A person interested (say you, or me, someone interested), should review and explore each individual piece of evidence. Before thinking to favor one model or another.

    Each.

    Dark matter evidence list - Wikipedia
     
  19. Michael

    Michael Contributor Supporter

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    It's worth noting that all the so called 'evidence' for dark matter isn't based on controlled experimentation, but rather from a subjective perspective, that begins with the beliefs that A) gravity is the only important force of nature when describing the universe at larger scales, and B) our current technology, and current mass estimation models allow us to properly "estimate" the mass in distant galaxies. I don't happen to believe that either of those two assumptions is correct.

    On the other hand, we've spent tens of billions of dollars at LHC, LUX, PandaX, Xenon-1T etc, "testing' various exotic matter models in controlled experiments, and they've all failed.

    I personally think it's time to go back to the drawing board and reevaluate both of those two core "assumptions" that are made by dark matter proponents.
     
  20. Halbhh

    Halbhh Everything You say is Life to me Supporter

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    There is a lot to these topics, very extensive. Astrophysics doesn't say dark matter exists, but rather that something is happening that is as if non radiating matter is present, which we can't figure out yet (in a supported way). And then the field comes up with a lot of hypotheses. Many. Over time. Many competing ideas, to be examined and attempt to shoot down.

    Re the LCH, it helped us discover the Higgs Boson!

    !

    Before that only hypothesized to exist.

    And this powerfully extended the evidence for the "Standard Model" of elementary particles. (And disproved an elegant version of an important theory with cosmological implications(!), that had been thought likely(!))
    Standard Model - Wikipedia
    Useful short summary in introductory section.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2020
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