Why Roger Penrose’s cosmological theory doesn’t work

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Here are some thoughts by Brian Miller on cosmologist Roger Penrose’s claim that there is no absolute beginning to the universe. (conformal cyclical cosmology):

Penrose’s model requires several highly questionable assumptions. First, it must overcome the implications of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem that proves that expanding universes must have an absolute beginning. To avoid this conclusion, Penrose must assume that the universe was infinitely large in the infinite past, which is philosophically problematic. Additional unproven assumptions include the following:

All particle masses dropping to zero.

Presence of a scalar field that becomes active at the right time to trigger crossover.

Mass of the scalar field rapidly increases after crossover.

Given the lack to supporting evidence and the ad hoc assumptions, CCC offers no serious challenge to the evidence that the universe had a beginning. Therefore, something, or more likely someone, outside of time and space must have created it.

Brian Miller, “Another Attempt by an Esteemed Cosmologist to Avoid a Cosmic Beginning Collapses on Inspection” at Evolution News (January 11, 2022)

You don’t have to believe in God but that’s less complex than the typical alternatives.

7 Replies to “Why Roger Penrose’s cosmological theory doesn’t work

  1. 1
    Pearlman says:

    well put by Brian, and that is just for starts! 🙂
    for an ID and YeC cosmological model that (for all practical purposes as a 94.26 quintillion: 1 parsimony advantage) falsifies all deep-time dependent scientific hypotheses and assumptions like SCM-LCDM and NDT Darwinism see SPIRAL cosmological redshift hypothesis and model.

  2. 2
    zweston says:

    Pearlman, I’d be interested to hear more about your YEC, but I can’t understand half of what you typed up there… need more layman language if you want interacted with I think. Just a kind critique.

  3. 3
    Belfast says:

    @Zweston. I can’t fathom Pearlman either. I think his reference is to the Young Earth model.
    But if that is tough, how about the Penrose summary of the critical bit, “ At each crossover, a hypothesized “phantom field” transitions from a purely mathematic entity into a physical field that rapidly acquires mass and dominates over all other fields.”
    I take a purely mathematical entity like a triangle and try to picture its ‘transition’ into a simple physical triangle made of connected single atoms of hydrogen or iron, and fail.

  4. 4
    chuckdarwin says:

    Penrose won the Nobel Prize just a few months ago. So, I wouldn’t be quite so dismissive. He’s not the only cosmologist to question and re-examine the notion that the universe had an absolute beginning. For example, Guth has recently teamed up with Sean Carroll in revisiting the issue. Guth said in a recent interview that he would not put money on there actually being an absolute beginning of the universe if he were a betting man.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    CD, Penrose ignores his present high level critics as well as ignoring the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem

    Penrose and His Critics
    Yet CCC has faced severe criticism from other cosmologists. The concentric circles in the CMBR could not be identified by other research groups. And many have argued that the CMBR data fits other cosmological models far better than CCC. In addition, the assumption that electrons will eventually lose their mass is not consistent with the Standard Model of particle physics.,,,
    (His model) must overcome the implications of the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem that proves that expanding universes must have an absolute beginning.,,,

    Moreover, Penrose, (besides ignoring his present high level critics and the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin theorem), (and like Hawking himself did), is also living in denial of his very own theorem that he developed with Hawking, circa 1970, that showed, via General Relativity, that “time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy”,,

    Big Bang Theory – An Overview of the main evidence
    Excerpt: Steven Hawking, George Ellis, and Roger Penrose turned their attention to the Theory of Relativity and its implications regarding our notions of time. In 1968 and 1970, they published papers in which they extended Einstein's Theory of General Relativity to include measurements of time and space.1, 2 According to their calculations, time and space had a finite beginning that corresponded to the origin of matter and energy."3
    Steven W. Hawking, George F.R. Ellis, "The Cosmic Black-Body Radiation and the Existence of Singularities in our Universe," Astrophysical Journal, 152, (1968) pp. 25-36.
    Steven W. Hawking, Roger Penrose, "The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology," Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, series A, 314 (1970) pp. 529-548.

    “Every solution to the equations of general relativity guarantees the existence of a singular boundary for space and time in the past”
    (Hawking, Penrose, Ellis) – 1970

    “Before he worked on black hole evaporation, Hawking worked with Penrose on the singularity theorems. Penrose’s theorem showed that, in contrast to what most physicists believed at the time, black holes are a pretty much unavoidable consequence of stellar collapse. Before that, physicists thought black holes are mathematical curiosities that would not be produced in reality. It was only because of the singularity theorems that black holes began to be taken seriously. Eventually astronomers looked for them, and now we have solid experimental evidence that black holes exist. Hawking applied the same method to the early universe to show that the Big Bang singularity is likewise unavoidable, unless General Relativity somehow breaks down. And that is an absolutely amazing insight about the origin of our universe.”
    – Sabine Hossenfelder

    Moreover, the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem, since it relies on special relativity instead of general relativity, turns out to be a much more robust proof that the universe must have had an absolute beginning than Penrose's and Hawking's original proof,,,

    “All the evidence we have says that the universe had a beginning.”
    – Cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin of Tufts University in Boston – in a paper delivered to atheist Stephen Hawking at Hawking’s 70th birthday party (Characterized as ‘Worst Birthday Present Ever’) – January 2012

    “It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can long longer hide behind the possibility of a past eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning.”
    Alexander Vilenkin – Many Worlds In One – Pg. 176

    “The conclusion is that past-eternal inflation is impossible without a beginning.”
    – Alexander Vilenkin – from pg. 35 ‘New Proofs for the Existence of God’ by Robert J. Spitzer (of note: An elegant thought experiment, via special relativity, of a space traveler traveling to another galaxy, that Borde, Guth, and Vilenkin, used to illustrate the validity of the proof, is on pg. 35 of the book as well.)

    Inflationary spacetimes are not past-complete – 2003
    Arvind Borde,1, 2 Alan H. Guth,1, 3 and Alexander Vilenkin1
    Excerpt: we will construct a definition for H that depends only on the relative motion of the observer and test particles.
    In order to motivate what we do, we first consider the case of nonrelativistic velocities in Minkowski space. Suppose that the observer measures the velocities of the test particles as a function of the time t on his own clock.,,,
    IV. Discussion. Our argument shows that null and time- like geodesics are, in general, past-incomplete in infla- tionary models, whether or not energy conditions hold, provided only that the averaged expansion condition Hav > 0 holds along these past-directed geodesics. This is a stronger conclusion than the one arrived at in pre- vious work [8] in that we have shown under reasonable assumptions that almost all causal geodesics, when extended to the past of an arbitrary point, reach the boundary of the inflating region of spacetime in a finite proper time (finite affine length, in the null case).

    “There is another development in theoretical physics called the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem. And its not based on General Relativity but its based on Special Relativity. And for that reason it is not effected by postulations about what gravity might or might not have been like in the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe. And it is those speculations that prevented the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, singularity theorem from absolutely proving a beginning point.
    Instead the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin, theorem proves a beginning to the universe on the basis of considerations from special relativity that have nothing to do with whether or not there were quantum fluctuations within the first tiny smidgen of time after the beginning of the universe, and whether gravity might have worked differently or not. Instead it is independent of all those kind of considerations and caveats that prevent us from saying that the Hawking, Penrose, Ellis, results are absolute proofs (for a beginning of the universe). Instead you have a very strong proof of a beginning from theoretical physics that is not dependent on these conditions.”,,,
    – Stephen Meyer Discusses the Big Bang, Einstein, Hawking, and More – video – 36:42 minute mark

    ChuckDarwin mentioned that Penrose was a recent Nobel Prize winner and therefore we ought to listen to him. Well, here are what a few other Nobel Prize winners have stated in direct contrast to Penrose, so why doesn’t ChuckyD listen to them?

    “My argument,” Dr. Penzias concluded, “is that the best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.”
    – Dr. Arno Penzias, Nobel Laureate in Physics – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation – as stated to the New York Times on March 12, 1978

    “Certainly there was something that set it all off,,, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match Genesis”
    – Robert Wilson – Nobel laureate – co-discoverer Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    – Fred Heeren, Show Me God (Wheeling, Ill.: Daystar, 2000),

    “The question of ‘the beginning’ is as inescapable for cosmologists as it is for theologians…there is no doubt that a parallel exists between the big bang as an event and the Christian notion of creation from nothing”
    – George Smoot and Keay Davidson, Wrinkles in Time, 1993, p.189. – George Smoot is a Nobel laureate in 2006 for his work on COBE

    Quotes and Verse:

    among all the ‘holy’ books, of all the major religions in the world, only the Holy Bible was correct in its claim for a completely transcendent origin of the universe. Some later ‘holy’ books, such as the Mormon text “Pearl of Great Price” and the Qur’an, copy the concept of a transcendent origin from the Bible but also include teachings that are inconsistent with that now established fact.
    (Hugh Ross; Why The Universe Is The Way It Is; Pg. 228; Chpt.9; note 5)

    “Now we see how the astronomical evidence supports the biblical view of the origin of the world. The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same: the chain of events leading to man commenced suddenly and sharply at a definite moment in time, in a flash of light and energy.”
    – Robert Jastrow – Founder of NASA’s Goddard Institute – ‘God and the Astronomers’ – Pg.15 – 2000

    ,,, ‘And if you’re curious about how Genesis 1, in particular, fairs. Hey, we look at the Days in Genesis as being long time periods, which is what they must be if you read the Bible consistently, and the Bible scores 4 for 4 in Initial Conditions and 10 for 10 on the Creation Events’
    Hugh Ross – Latest Scientific Evidence for God’s Existence – video approx 55 minute mark

    Genesis 1:3
    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

  6. 6
    chuckdarwin says:

    BA77 @ 5
    We’ve been down this road before. First, I don’t argue that Penrose is necessarily right, rather, I’m suggesting that Miller be a little more circumspect before he makes the grand leap to the “God hypothesis.” Second, previously, I discussed that Guth and Vilenkin don’t see eye to eye on the implications of their theorem. Buth, contra Vilenkin, is on record saying that the theorem implies that inflation had a beginning but not necessarily the universe itself. As a lay person, I don’t pretend to understand high level physics or cosmology, but this disagreement doesn’t seem that difficult to understand. Third, I don’t see any reason to conclude that Penrose’s model is simply a way to dodge “religious implications” of the Big Bang, but rather a bona fide exploration of potentially empirical alternatives. I think that someone of his stature is motivated by curiosity rather than some compulsion to avoid religion. I’ve always found that type of sophomoric psychologizing by theists truly condescending.

    Yesterday I listened to a fantastic podcast where Brian Keating interviewed Paul Davies. Davies, who can best be described as a deist, warned against shoehorning facts and data into pre-conceived belief systems. While this point should be obvious, IMO it is one of the cardinal sins of the intelligent design crowd–everything is driven by ID’s religious agenda.

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Well ChuckyD, the evidence for a beginning of the universe is far more extensive than just the results of the Hawking, Penrose, theorem and the Borde, Guth, Vilenkin theorem. (as impressive as the results of those theorems are)

    In my humble opinion, the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR), by itself, also provides ample evidence that the universe must have had an absolute beginning. Moreover, the CMBR also provides ‘surprising’ evidence that the earth itself was intended from the beginning of the creation of the universe, (as the Bible alone uniquely predicts).

    Specifically, the chaotic inflation model, (which Guth himself was instrumental in formulating), fails to explain ‘unexpected anomalies’ that are now found in the CMBR.

    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!”.

    More interesting still, these anomalies in the CMBR, which Guth’s chaotic inflation model is at an impasse to explain, are found to ‘unexpectedly’ line up with the earth and solar system:

    Here is an excellent clip from “The Principle” that explains these ‘anomalies’ in the CMBR data, that ‘unexpectedly’ line up with the earth and solar system, in an easy to understand manner.

    Cosmic Microwave Background Proves Intelligent Design (disproves Copernican principle) (clip of “The Principle”) – video

    Moreover, besides the earth and solar system ‘unexpectedly’ lining up with these anomalies in the Cosmic Background Radiation, Radio Astronomy also now reveals a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the eclipticcite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropiescite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sourcescite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.

    Moreover, this surprising rotational coincidence for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe also happens to combine with the anomalies in the CMBR data to ‘unexpectedly’ give the earth a ‘central’ position in the universe.

    As the following article, (with a illustration) explains,

    “Of course to have an exact position, (or what we would call an ‘exact center’ in the universe), we would need an X axis, a Y axis, and a Z axis, since that will give us three dimensions in Euclidean space. The CMB dipole and quadrupole gives us the X axis and Y axis but not a Z axis. Hence, the X and Y axis of the CMB provide a direction, but only an approximate position. That is why we have continually said that the CMB puts Earth “at or near the center of the universe.”
    For the Z-axis we depend on other information, such as quasars and galaxy alignment that the CMB cannot provide. For example, it has been discovered that the anisotropies of extended quasars and radio galaxies are aligned with the Earth’s equator and the North celestial pole (NCP)4.,,, Ashok K. Singal describes his shocking discovery in those terms:
    “What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.”
    – Ashok K. Singal4 “Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky,” Ashok K. Singal, Astronomy and Astrophysics Division, Navrangpura, Ahmedabad, India, May 17, 2013,..
    Signal states: “We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations.”
    – Illustration

    Thus, contrary to the presumptions of atheists, far from the tiny temperature variations in the CMBR being a product of random quantum fluctuations, as Guth erroneously presupposed to be true in his chaotic inflation model, the tiny temperature variations in the CMBR, (due to the ‘insane coincidence’ of the universe being ‘flat to 1 part within 10^57), are found to correspond to the ‘largest scale structures of the observable universe’ and these ‘largest scale structures of the observable universe’ reveal “a surprising rotational coincidence for Earth”.

    In short, the “tiny temperature variations” in the CMBR, and the large scale structures in the universe, combine with each other to reveal teleology, (i.e. a goal directed purpose, a plan, a reason), that specifically included the earth from the start of the universe. ,,, The earth, from what our best science can now tell us, is not some random cosmic fluke as atheists had erroneously presupposed in their chaotic inflation theory.

    And again, this ‘special’ position for the earth in the universe really should not be all that surprising to discover. Besides the Bible correctly, and uniquely, predicting a beginning for the universe, as well as the Bible correctly, and uniquely, predicting that the universe would be flat, and that a circle would be inscribed on the ‘face of the deep’, (and besides the fact that modern science itself is crucially dependent on presuppositions that can only be reasonably grounded within the Judeo-Christian worldview), besides all those ‘minor’ details, the Bible is also on record as to correctly, and uniquely, predicting that the Earth was specifically intended by God from the very beginning of the creation of the universe.

    Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

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