It’s a lot like Darwinian evolution except that, in this case, people are willing to talk about it.
Sounds like a designed system all right. Too bad that’s a problem for many physicists.
Here’s a question: What if the basic fact we “still don’t understand” is that the evidence shows that the universe is fine-tuned and that therefore, fine-tuning is not an illusion that needs explaining away? Would that simplify things? If so, how? Another question (now that we’re here anyway): How much publicly funded cosmology exists simply to promote a naturalist atheist (no fine-tuning) worldview? And what is the science rationale for that?
Sheldon: The inflationary proposal has always been ad hoc. That is, a huge, faster-than-light expansion of the universe was proposed as a solution to the “flatness” problem, where the universe expands at a rate just sufficient to counter the gravitational attraction, where “just sufficient” means one part in 10^60 power. The inflationary model was invented to solve this fine-tuning problem.
Sheldon: “This article explains precisely why thousands of theoretical physicists have not made any progress in 40 years. One hopelessly ad hoc and unsupported theory (inflation) conflicts with another hopelessly unphysical theory (string theory) and then others purport to resolve the difficulty by resorting to highly questionable phenomena (gravity waves).
Hossenfelder: “So, what’s the scientist to do when they are faced with such a discrepancy between theory and observation? They look for new regularities in the observation and try to find a simple way to explain them.” Okay but the question of whether the terms “dark matter” and “dark energy” correspond to anything that actually exists could be a different one.
Ethan Siegel has a genius for encapsulating what is wrong in science today.
So now a French cosmologist is supporting the Oxford cosmologist Subir Sarkar in refuting the US-dominated 2011 Nobel prize consensus.
Why would a spherical Earth be “unfathomable”? Once the Sun and the Moon were seen as spheres, whatever the universe as a whole might be like, it seems logical that Earth would be a sphere too.
Sheldon, our physics color commentator, writes to say, “I’ve mentioned before that Subir Sarkar at Oxford has questioned the existence of “dark energy” and by implication, the award of the 2011 Nobel prize. Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog links to a 7 minute summary of the Nobel prize and Sarkar’s work: But even more compelling is her Read More…
Rob Sheldon (offering an assessment): “I don’t really know why every new thing in particle physics turns into “dark matter”–perhaps because the street lights are so dim over there?”
For example: The philosophical argument for the universe having a beginning is that past time cannot be infinite because an infinite amount of time cannot already have been exhausted so as to arrive at the present. Infinite time is limitless, inexhaustible, and thus cannot have been exhausted.
Researchers: ” …the neutron has a significantly smaller EDM (electrical dipole moment) than predicted by various theories about why matter remains in the universe” The new find doesn’t answer the question but it enables theories to be winnowed.
Involving quantum mechanics: In an enormously complicated 165-page paper, computer scientist Zhengfeng Ji and colleagues present a result that penetrates to the heart of deep questions about math, computing and their connection to reality. It’s about a procedure for verifying the solutions to very complex mathematical propositions, even some that are believed to be impossible Read More…
Some reviewers almost make us forget that string theory was supposed to be science, not religion. Get a load of this review of string theorist Brian Greene’s new book, Until the End of Time: Mind, Matter, and Our Search for Meaning in an Evolving Universe (Penguin 2020)