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Sean Carroll and the Time with Two Heads

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Universe Fate-1 Accelerating Universe
universe shortly after the Big Bang

Another stab at: What came before the Big Bang? = We  all hates the Big Bang.

From Harper’s:

Working with Alan Guth, a pioneering cosmologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carroll has developed a not-yet-published theory called Two-Headed Time. In this model of the universe, time has existed forever. But unlike the static cosmos imagined by Aristotle and Newton and Einstein, this universe changes as the eons go by. The evolution of the cosmos is symmetric in time, such that the behavior of the universe before the Big Bang is nearly a mirror image of its behavior after. Until 14 billion years ago, the universe was contracting. It reached a minimum size at the Big Bang (which we call t = 0) and has been expanding ever since. (Other quantum cosmologists have proposed similar models.) It’s like a Slinky that falls to the floor, reaches maximum compression on impact, and then bounces back to larger dimensions. Because of the unavoidable random fluctuations required by quantum physics, the contracting universe would not be an exact mirror image of the expanding universe; a physicist named Alan Guth probably did not exist in the contracting phase of our universe.

It is well known in the science of order and disorder that, other things being equal, larger spaces allow for more disorder, essentially because there are more places to scatter things. Smaller spaces therefore tend to have more order. As a consequence, in the Carroll–Guth picture, the order of the universe was at a maximum at the Big Bang; disorder increased both before and after. Recall that the forward direction of time is determined by the movement of order to disorder. Thus the future points away from the Big Bang in two directions. A person living in the contracting phase of the universe sees the Big Bang in her past, just as we do. When she dies, the universe is larger than when she was born, just as it will be for us. “When I came to understand that the reason I can remember the past but not the future is ultimately related to conditions at the Big Bang, that was a startling epiphany,” said Carroll. More.

Carroll’s ideas  are interesting but — as noted earlier in this space — a mystic could have thunk it up on a meditation mat millennia ago. What makes this science?

See also: Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train


Cosmologist Sean Carroll would retire falsifiability as a science idea. Philosopher Massimo Pigliucci defends it.

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4 Replies to “Sean Carroll and the Time with Two Heads

  1. 1
    bFast says:

    This sounds like classic “big crunch” theory to me. I though that dark energy destroyed the big crunch theory.

  2. 2
    bornagain says:

    Well, I guess Guth has to go on to some other imaginary speculation now that inflation is dead.

    Inflation (cosmology)
    In 2002, three of the original architects of the theory were recognized for their major contributions; physicists Alan Guth of M.I.T., Andrei Linde of Stanford and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton shared the prestigious Dirac Prize “for development of the concept of inflation in cosmology”.[5],,,
    Inflation theory was developed in the early 1980s. It explains the origin of the large-scale structure of the cosmos. Quantum fluctuations in the microscopic inflationary region, magnified to cosmic size, become the seeds for the growth of structure in the Universe (see galaxy formation and evolution and structure formation).[2] Many physicists also believe that inflation explains why the Universe appears to be the same in all directions (isotropic), why the cosmic microwave background radiation is distributed evenly, why the Universe is flat, and why no magnetic monopoles have been observed.

    The falsification is two fold. 1. Logical absurdities that arise from unconstrained infinity. 2. Empirical falsification:

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”

    Why I Still Doubt Inflation, in Spite of Gravitational Wave Findings By John Horgan – March 17, 2014
    Excerpt: Indeed, inflation, like string theory, has always suffered from what is sometimes called the “Alice’s Restaurant Problem.” Like the diner eulogized in the iconic Arlo Guthrie song, inflation comes in so many different versions that it can give you “anything you want.” In other words, it cannot be falsified, and so–like psychoanalysis, Marxism and other overly flexible hypotheses (mmm Darwinism?)–it is not really a scientific theory.

    Curtain falls on controversial big bang (inflation) result – 30 January 2015
    Excerpt: As predictably as the heroine’s death in an opera, the biggest claim in cosmology in years has finally officially unraveled. Last March, cosmologists working with a specialized telescope at the South Pole called BICEP2 claimed direct evidence that in the first fraction of a second after the big bang, the universe underwent a bizarre exponential growth spurt called inflation. The signs came in their study of the big bang’s afterglow, the cosmic microwave background (CMB). But now, in a joint analysis with cosmologists working with the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Planck spacecraft, BICEP researchers take back that claim and report no such signs of inflation, according to a press release issued by ESA.

    Planck reveals an almost perfect Universe (Disconfirms inflationary models) – video
    Quote at 2:00 minute mark: “What’s surprising in Planck’s latest findings and is inconsistent with prevailing theories, is the presence of unexpected large scale anomalies in the sky. Including a large cold region. Stronger fluctuations in one half of the sky than the other. And less light signals than expected across the entire sky.”
    Planck spokesman: “When we look at only the large features on this (CMBR) map you find that our find that our best fitting theory (inflation) has a problem fitting the data.”
    “Planck launched in 2009,, is the 3rd mission to study the Cosmic Microwave Background to date. While these unusual features in the sky were hinted at the two previous US missions, COBE and WMAP, Planck’s ability to measure the tiniest of fluctuations in the Cosmic Microwave Background has made these so called anomalies impossible to ignore.”
    Planck spokesman: “Because of these features that we are finding in the sky, people really are in a situation now where they cannot ignore them any more. ,,, We’ve established them (the anomalies) as fact!”.

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – Borde-Guth-Vilenkin – 2003
    Excerpt: inflationary models require physics other than inflation to describe the past boundary of the inflating region of spacetime.

    Carrol has not faired much better than Guth has in his imaginary speculations:

    The Universe Is Not Eternal – Johanan Raatz – March 1, 2014
    Excerpt: Carroll pointed out that the BVG theorem only works within relativity but does not take quantum effects into account. Given a lack of a complete theory of quantum gravity, he argued that Craig can not claim that the universe began to exist.
    Though this is partly true, it turns out we are not completely in the dark. One thing known for certain about quantum gravity is something called the holographic principle. Precisely put, the holographic principle tells us that the entropy of a region of space (measured in terms of information) is directly proportional to a quarter of its surface area. The volume of this region is then actually a hologram of this information on its surface.
    Except this tells us something interesting about the universe as well. Entropy, or the amount of disorder present, always increases with time. In fact not only is this law inviolate, it is also how the flow of time is defined. Without entropy, there is no way to discern forwards and backwards in time.
    But if the holographic principle links the universe’s entropy and its horizon area then going back in time, all of space-time eventually vanishes to nothing at zero entropy. Thus Carroll’s argument is unsound. We already have enough knowledge about what happens beyond the BVG theorem that Craig cites. The universe is not eternal but created.
    It is interesting to note that this also undermines claims made by atheists like Hawking and Krauss that the universe could have fluctuated into existence from nothing. Their argument rests on the assumption that there was a pre-existent zero-point field or ZPF. The only trouble is that the physics of a ZPF requires a space-time to exist in. No space-time means no zero-point field, and without a zero-point field, the universe can not spontaneously fluctuate into existence.

    Of note:

    Evidences For The Big Bang – Michael Strauss – video (4:50 mark – main evidences) (14:30 mark – unscientific speculations, such as Carrol and Guth’s current speculations, persist)

  3. 3
    Jack Jones says:

    Born, I have to go now but it would be good if you educated RDFish on the other thread of how the presuppositions of science are born of a theistic position, I am sure you have some quotes where you could educate him because he seems to be very ignorant of this fact my friend.

  4. 4
    bornagain says:

    Jack Jones, RDFish is not ignorant. I’m sure he has seen the evidence for the Christian founding of modern science.

    But chooses to ignore it, or most likely as is his habit, to rationalize it away in his mind with severely twisted logic and imagination.

    I’ve seen many people, especially Mr. Arrington, just simply destroy his arguments. Yet he acts as if nothing is amiss. I would consider it a miracle if the FISH ever changed.

    But you did remind me of this recent short 17:00 min. video that JonathanM, (a really sharp guy), recommended yesterday. It looks to be good. I’ll think I’ll grab a cup of Joe and watch it this morning.

    God, Science, and Atheism – video

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