Jump to content
Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Claire.

A cosmic controversy

Recommended Posts

Claire.

A Cosmic Controversy

The origins of space and time are among the most mysterious and contentious topics in science. Our February 2017 article Pop Goes the Universe argues against the dominant idea that the early cosmos underwent an extremely rapid expansion called inflation. Its authors instead advocate for another scenario—that our universe began not with a bang but with a bounce from a previously contracting cosmos. In the letter below, a group of 33 physicists who study inflationary cosmology respond to that article. It is followed by a reply from the authors (an extended version of their reply can be found here).

Read more: Scientific American

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Claire.

Related: Is a Popular Theory of Cosmic Creation Pseudoscience?

Physicists battle over whether the theory of inflation is untestable and hence not really scientific.

A brouhaha has erupted over the theory of cosmic creation known as inflation. The theory holds that in the first instant of the big bang, the universe underwent a tremendous, exponential growth spurt before settling down to the slower rate of expansion observed today.

Read more: Scientific American

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jarjarbinks

Some of them spent their entire life defending an idea and a theory, do you really think they will ever change their view on it ? nope.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bmk1245

Just stating inflation theory is wrong and bringing no experimental (observational) data to support statement is kinda flat Earth stuff.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tom the Photon
5 hours ago, jarjarbinks said:

Some of them spent their entire life defending an idea and a theory, do you really think they will ever change their view on it ? nope.

You're absolutely correct.  Scientists claim to be rational, impartial observers who are totally prepared to drop a theory at the introduction of new ideas or evidence.  The reality is that so many modern theories have so little evidence to support them that their adherents can eke out entire careers researching something that later turns out to be completely wrong.  Look at dark matter: almost every physicist accepts it's real, as is dark energy, but only a handful of them are actually investigating it and many of those are beginning to doubt its entire existence.  There are much simpler models to describe the unexpected rotation of galaxies without resorting to hypothetical types of matter with magical properties.  Similarly the whole concept of multiple universes overlapping to explain QM, and dozens of other theories.  They seem to have all forgotten Occam's Razor in their quest for greater and more complex models.  What is the point in spending an entire life "researching" something that, by definition, cannot be proven?  You might as well become a priest!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nzo

If you cannot scientifically test it, retest, and verify the results over and over then its just a hunch. Could be right on the money hunch but if it cannot be tested, just a hunch.

 

Perfect example where scientists bend the truth to match their results. Perfect example where scientists take 1% and extrapolate to 100% . Perfect example why the scientific method is king and why humans are the flaw. 

 

These scientists should get a nobel prize for proving that we know  close to nothing at this stage because we cannot scientifically test everything. It's just educated hunches. If you want to follow this line of thought then stop calling yourselves scientists and call yourselves priests, rabbis, clerics etc. because we are now in the realm of faith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frank Merton
14 minutes ago, Nzo said:

If you cannot scientifically test it, retest, and verify the results over and over then its just a hunch. Could be right on the money hunch but if it cannot be tested, just a hunch.

 

Perfect example where scientists bend the truth to match their results. Perfect example where scientists take 1% and extrapolate to 100% . Perfect example why the scientific method is king and why humans are the flaw. 

 

These scientists should get a nobel prize for proving that we know  close to nothing at this stage because we cannot scientifically test everything. It's just educated hunches. If you want to follow this line of thought then stop calling yourselves scientists and call yourselves priests, rabbis, clerics etc. because we are now in the realm of faith.

This sounds like Popper's effort to define science, and it has problems, mainly in the fact that it tends to rule out the human sciences (cultural anthropology, sociology and especially psychology) and probably a good deal of biology from being science.  Indeed, this is the case made by the pseudo-science known as Creation Science.

I tend to think the reality is that science is what is done by scientists (people who have spent years at university and so on), and maybe here and there a lucky amateur (say someone who first spots a new comet).  If the comet is never seen again, is it science?  I think so, even though it is not confirmed science, if the amateur has a good record, his report will probably be taken at face value.

What tends to be the yardstick nowadays is publication in an accepted scientific journal after peer review -- but we know this process does let some junk through and forms a block to other good science -- it is not perfect  and we have no right therefore to expect it to be.  Still, it is the test I use.  If someone claims something extraordinary, I wait until there has been peer review and so on.  If it doesn't happen, then it is just a claim, and probably either a fraud or a kook.  If it is true, time will tell (more than likely).

I wish it were possible to dispense with the giving out of prizes, since so often the end result is sad for great discoveries not recognized until after the person's death, and sometimes not shared with all those deserving (who were key parts of the discovery).  Some Nobels have been given, perhaps rightly, to people who made discoveries by accident.  Kinda hard to figure.

One thing is for sure -- because something is backed by a given prize winner does not make it true.  It may improve its credibility but truth is not based on testimony of anyone, no matter how important.  By the way, Higgs deserved his.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Noteverythingisaconspiracy
9 hours ago, jarjarbinks said:

Some of them spent their entire life defending an idea and a theory, do you really think they will ever change their view on it ? nope.

What evidence do you have for that statement ?

If you present enough testable evidence for a theory most scientists will accept it.

History shows us plenty of times when a new theory was accepted once the evidence was sufficient. The Big Bang, relativity, evolution and quantum mechanics a just a few examples of this.

Of course there are allways some people who will resist change, but it is not the majority.

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nzo
5 minutes ago, Frank Merton said:

This sounds like Popper's effort to define science, and it has problems, mainly in the fact that it tends to rule out the human sciences (cultural anthropology, sociology and especially psychology) and probably a good deal of biology from being science.  Indeed, this is the case made by the pseudo-science known as Creation Science.

I tend to think the reality is that science is what is done by scientists (people who have spent years at university and so on), and maybe here and there a lucky amateur (say someone who first spots a new comet).  If the comet is never seen again, is it science?  I think so, even though it is not confirmed science, if the amateur has a good record, his report will probably be taken at face value.

What tends to be the yardstick nowadays is publication in an accepted scientific journal after peer review -- but we know this process does let some junk through and forms a block to other good science -- it is not perfect  and we have no right therefore to expect it to be.  Still, it is the test I use.  If someone claims something extraordinary, I wait until there has been peer review and so on.  If it doesn't happen, then it is just a claim, and probably either a fraud or a kook.  If it is true, time will tell (more than likely).

I wish it were possible to dispense with the giving out of prizes, since so often the end result is sad for great discoveries not recognized until after the person's death, and sometimes not shared with all those deserving (who were key parts of the discovery).  Some Nobels have been given, perhaps rightly, to people who made discoveries by accident.  Kinda hard to figure.

One thing is for sure -- because something is backed by a given prize winner does not make it true.  It may improve its credibility but truth is not based on testimony of anyone, no matter how important.  By the way, Higgs deserved his.

Higgs deserves his prize because he was proven correct. We are talking the whole creation of this universe. We are talking massive amounts of conjecture.

I personally love science and the scientific method when done ethically, morally and done right. There seems to be no other way of finding out what this universe is about. But I seriously hate it when scientists reach with their conjectures. Bad science is infinitely bad and nothing spells bad science like extrapolating 1% of knowledge to untested unverified, unverifiable 100%. Like I said before if you cannot use the scientific method to prove something then it's just faith and you are now a priest, cleric or rabbi, you have left the rational world and entered the world of hope. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frank Merton
21 minutes ago, Nzo said:

Higgs deserves his prize because he was proven correct. We are talking the whole creation of this universe. We are talking massive amounts of conjecture.

I personally love science and the scientific method when done ethically, morally and done right. There seems to be no other way of finding out what this universe is about. But I seriously hate it when scientists reach with their conjectures. Bad science is infinitely bad and nothing spells bad science like extrapolating 1% of knowledge to untested unverified, unverifiable 100%. Like I said before if you cannot use the scientific method to prove something then it's just faith and you are now a priest, cleric or rabbi, you have left the rational world and entered the world of hope. 

I can only guess what you have in mind when you denounce conjectures.  Conjectures are an essential part of science -- of course they should be identified as such but so long as that is done I don't get your complaint.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DieChecker

So if it can't be proven or disproven, then it isn't science? To me it seems it would still be science, but would still be just a theory, which is in need of more evidence.

Saying inflation will never be proven or disproven is saying that we, right now, have all the evidence we're ever going to have on the subject, which is just shear ignorance.

Edited by DieChecker
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Derek Willis
7 hours ago, Noteverythingisaconspiracy said:

What evidence do you have for that statement ?

If you present enough testable evidence for a theory most scientists will accept it.

History shows us plenty of times when a new theory was accepted once the evidence was sufficient. The Big Bang, relativity, evolution and quantum mechanics a just a few examples of this.

Of course there are allways some people who will resist change, but it is not the majority.

 

To his last breath Einstein would not fully accept the probability at the heart of Quantum Mechanics (contrary to the myth, he did give some ground). But in one of his last papers, written when he was close to death, he still held out that there must be hidden variables. Max Born - who introduced probability into Quantum Mechanics - used to regularly speak to Einstein, telling him the world of physics is groping in the dark without the man he called their "leader". Born said it was like talking to Moses, and telling him he was wrong about the Promised Land.   

I believe the resistance to change comes about when there is a seismic shift in the way people think. Einstein was firmly rooted in a deterministic universe - i.e there is a cause for every effect. Perhaps only once in a lifetime can a great scientist be involved in a seismic shift. Einstein did away with absolute space and time; something many scientists at the time would not accept.

Regarding inflation, as has been pointed out this is an unproven theory, so is bound to be questioned. Surely that is what science is all about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
bison

The authors advocate bounce theory in place of the big bang and inflationary cosmology. They emphasize that their scenario does not produce a multiverse, the budding of separate domains with constants and 'laws of nature' different from those we experience.

The lack of a multiverse raises a problem they don't seem to have considered. If there is only one domain, one universe, instead of a multiverse,  the odds of all of the many properties of nature just happening, by chance, to have just the right values required to permit our existence seem very, very long.

In the usual multiverse theories, this problem is answered by observing that most universes will not allow our existence, but with a vast number of domains, it is not unreasonable that one may fulfill these requirements.   

     

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Codenwarra

Some 55 or so years ago an hypothesis emerged that protons and neutrons were  composed of three different particles with fractional electric charge, known since then as quarks. It emerged from an unlikely source, a 19th century mathematical consideration of certain types of symmetry, which was entirely abstract. This quark hypothesis was not readily accepted by some physicists.   In the 1997 book "The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe(s) Report"  by Timothy Ferris, Ferris wrote that one academic was denied a post in the 1960s when it was learned that "he trafficked in quarks".  Some ten years later, solid physical evidence for some of the proposed particles was discovered but it took another 21 years for the last of them to be identified.  There is now no serious doubt of their reality.  

Some versions of inflationary theory were devised independently in the former Soviet Union and the USA around 1980.  They were found over the next few years to resolve some of the difficulties with the big bang theory as it then stood. Now there may well be problems with the hypothesis, but it has only been in existence less than 40 years.  With a few exceptions, no scientific theory has ever sprung fully armed and ready to do battle like Minerva from the head of Jupiter.  Not even Lavoisier's theory of the association of atoms to form chemical compounds could do this, and it took more than ten years to sort out the realities.  It still fails in some classes of chemical compounds. 

In the meantime, it  is better to accept an hypothesis which has some support with the proverbial grain of salt than to reject it on the basis that it seems absurd to a couple of the posters above.  There is no evidence that cosmologists have bent the truth.  There are a limited number of adequate optical and radio telescopes available, and a limited number of orbiting probes capable of providing answers to cosmological questions and therefore a limited number of astrophysicists who are able to work on the data obtained.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Frank Merton
41 minutes ago, Codenwarra said:

Some 55 or so years ago an hypothesis emerged that protons and neutrons were  composed of three different particles with fractional electric charge, known since then as quarks. It emerged from an unlikely source, a 19th century mathematical consideration of certain types of symmetry, which was entirely abstract. This quark hypothesis was not readily accepted by some physicists.   In the 1997 book "The Whole Shebang: A State of the Universe(s) Report"  by Timothy Ferris, Ferris wrote that one academic was denied a post in the 1960s when it was learned that "he trafficked in quarks".  Some ten years later, solid physical evidence for some of the proposed particles was discovered but it took another 21 years for the last of them to be identified.  There is now no serious doubt of their reality.  

Some versions of inflationary theory were devised independently in the former Soviet Union and the USA around 1980.  They were found over the next few years to resolve some of the difficulties with the big bang theory as it then stood. Now there may well be problems with the hypothesis, but it has only been in existence less than 40 years.  With a few exceptions, no scientific theory has ever sprung fully armed and ready to do battle like Minerva from the head of Jupiter.  Not even Lavoisier's theory of the association of atoms to form chemical compounds could do this, and it took more than ten years to sort out the realities.  It still fails in some classes of chemical compounds. 

In the meantime, it  is better to accept an hypothesis which has some support with the proverbial grain of salt than to reject it on the basis that it seems absurd to a couple of the posters above.  There is no evidence that cosmologists have bent the truth.  There are a limited number of adequate optical and radio telescopes available, and a limited number of orbiting probes capable of providing answers to cosmological questions and therefore a limited number of astrophysicists who are able to work on the data obtained.  

We don't need to accept or reject any scientific idea, and it is not advisable to do so unless we have spent years study of the area of specialty involved.  All most of us can do is go with the scientific consensus, and accept the fact that it will sometimes change.  (Rejecting the scientific consensus is a hairy thing to do and generally is spelled "crackpot.")  All I would say is it is far more likely to be accurate than some theory someone sitting at a keyboard come up with.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.