Intelligent Design

Cosmology: String theory landscape picture is an extremely ill-defined conjectural?

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Peter Woit, an able informant on string theory, advises:

On the other coast, today and tomorrow at Princeton there will be a workshop on string cosmology and inflation. They have a list of questions to be addressed, including

Are there any plausible alternatives to string/M-theory as a fundamental theory of physics?

Does string theory make any cosmological predictions? Does it exclude anything?

As far as I can tell, there’s an odd consensus set of answers to these two questions among string theorists. No, string theory makes no predictions about cosmology, but also no, there are no alternatives.

For an interesting discussion of the problems raised by this sort of “no possible predictions, but no alternatives” situation, see this debate involving John Horgan, David Tong and Tara Shears. Horgan does a good job of pointing out the problem. Tong’s defense of string theory relies heavily on claiming that it is highly mathematically rigid, so mathematical consistency is what can give us faith in it. One problem with this is that the whole string theory landscape picture is an extremely ill-defined conjectural framework, the opposite of mathematically rigid. Yes, there are parts of string theory that seem to be mathematically consistent and lead to interesting results. The problem is that those have nothing to do with what is observed about fundamental physics.


See The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology). And your kids might be learning Cosmos II at school. Read up.

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5 Replies to “Cosmology: String theory landscape picture is an extremely ill-defined conjectural?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    There has been no real breakthrough in our understanding of matter and cosmology for close to a century. It’s a sign that we are on the verge of a paradigm shift during which many current mainstream assumptions will be thrown out. IMO, the paradigm will shift dramatically as soon as the physics community wakes up from its Einsteinian stupor and realize that one of its most fundamental concepts, space (or distance), is but an abstraction, a mere perceptual illusion. Heck, the time dimension, too, is just imaginary nerd candy.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    Are there any plausible alternatives to string/M-theory as a fundamental theory of physics?
    Does string theory make any cosmological predictions? Does it exclude anything?
    As far as I can tell, there’s an odd consensus set of answers to these two questions among string theorists. No, string theory makes no predictions about cosmology, but also no, there are no alternatives.

    Contrary to what they may believe, I firmly believe that there is a viable alternative to string/M-theory.
    First, in laying this ‘viable alternative’ case out, it is important to note that even if there were a mathematically unified theory of everything, such as string/M-theory, that that mathematical theory would still would be incomplete.

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video

    In other words, Godel has shown, (by studying the ‘logic of infinity’), that the truthfulness of any equation that is precise enough to have counting numbers within itself is not derived from within the mathematical equation itself, but the truthfulness of the mathematical equation is reliant on something outside the equation in order for the equation to derive whatever truthfulness about the world it is said to be describing.

    Taking God Out of the Equation – Biblical Worldview – by Ron Tagliapietra – January 1, 2012
    Excerpt: Kurt Gödel (1906–1978) proved that no logical systems (if they include the counting numbers) can have all three of the following properties.
    1. Validity … all conclusions are reached by valid reasoning.
    2. Consistency … no conclusions contradict any other conclusions.
    3. Completeness … all statements made in the system are either true or false.
    The details filled a book, but the basic concept was simple and elegant. He (Godel) summed it up this way: “Anything you can draw a circle around cannot explain itself without referring to something outside the circle—something you have to assume but cannot prove.” For this reason, his proof is also called the Incompleteness Theorem.

    Godel and Physics – John D. Barrow
    Excerpt (page 5-6): “Clearly then no scientific cosmology, which of necessity must be highly mathematical, can have its proof of consistency within itself as far as mathematics go. In absence of such consistency, all mathematical models, all theories of elementary particles, including the theory of quarks and gluons…fall inherently short of being that theory which shows in virtue of its a priori truth that the world can only be what it is and nothing else. This is true even if the theory happened to account for perfect accuracy for all phenomena of the physical world known at a particular time.”
    Stanley Jaki – Cosmos and Creator – 1980, pg. 49

    In other words, if physicists and mathematicians want to find ‘The Truth’ that unifies all of reality into a coherent whole then they must ultimately look outside mathematics to find ‘The Truth’:

    Even Hawking himself at one time admitted, (and apparently subsequently forgot), that there cannot be a mathematical theory of everything that is ‘complete’ within itself.

    The nature and significance of Gödel’s incompleteness theorems – Princeton – 2006
    Excerpt: ,,Stephen Hawking and Freeman Dyson, among others, have come to the conclusion that Gödel’s theorem implies that there can’t be a (mathematical) Theory of Everything.,,

    The main reason that mathematics, by itself, cannot explain why the universe is as it it is is best summed up in these following articles by George Ellis and Dr. Bruce Gordon:

    Physicist George Ellis Knocks Physicists for Knocking Philosophy, Falsification, Free Will – July 22, 2014
    Excerpt: “As I stated above, mathematical equations only represent part of reality, and should not be confused with reality. A specific related issue: there is a group of people out there writing papers based on the idea that physics is a computational process. But a physical law is not an algorithm. So who chooses the computational strategy and the algorithms that realize a specific physical law? (Finite elements perhaps?) What language is it written in? (Does Nature use Java or C++? What machine code is used?) Where is the CPU? What is used for memory, and in what way are read and write commands executed? Additionally if it’s a computation, how does Nature avoid the halting problem? It’s all a very bad analogy that does not work.”

    “to say that a stone falls to earth because it’s obeying a law, makes it a man and even a citizen”
    – CS Lewis

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,The physical universe is causally incomplete and therefore neither self-originating nor self-sustaining. The world of space, time, matter and energy is dependent on a reality that transcends space, time, matter and energy.
    This transcendent reality cannot merely be a Platonic realm of mathematical descriptions, for such things are causally inert abstract entities that do not affect the material world,,,
    Rather, the transcendent reality on which our universe depends must be something that can exhibit agency – a mind that can choose among the infinite variety of mathematical descriptions and bring into existence a reality that corresponds to a consistent subset of them. This is what “breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe.” Anything else invokes random miracles as an explanatory principle and spells the end of scientific rationality.,,,
    Universes do not “spontaneously create” on the basis of abstract mathematical descriptions, nor does the fantasy of a limitless multiverse trump the explanatory power of transcendent intelligent design. What Mr. Hawking’s contrary assertions show is that mathematical savants can sometimes be metaphysical simpletons. Caveat emptor.

    The Christian founders of modern science understood this distinction between law and law giver, who ‘breathed fire into the equations’, very well

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – John Lennox – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

    “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.,,,
    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator, or Universal Ruler;,,,
    Sir Isaac Newton – Quoted from what many consider the greatest science masterpiece of all time, his book “Principia”

    The Genius and Faith of Faraday and Maxwell – Ian H. Hutchinson – 2014
    Conclusion: Lawfulness was not, in their thinking, inert, abstract, logical necessity, or complete reducibility to Cartesian mechanism; rather, it was an expectation they attributed to the existence of a divine lawgiver. These men’s insights into physics were made possible by their religious commitments. For them, the coherence of nature resulted from its origin in the mind of its Creator.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    But alas, since the time of the founding of modern science, modern science has all but lost its Judeo-Christian moorings that had laid the foundation for modern science:

    A Heavyweight Look at the Negative Impact of Modern and Postmodern Philosophies – Casey Luskin April 22, 2014
    Excerpt: (Paul Gosselin, Flight from the Absolute: Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West)
    ,,,He concludes: “Before the twentieth-century, this symbiotic relationship between science and Christianity was the norm, but since then the Enlightenment and modern propaganda have ‘buried’ it, keeping such facts out of view.” (p. 122) According to Gosselin, this is just another way that modernist philosophy has engaged in a form of intellectual fracking, trying to destroy the theological, philosophical, and other intellectual foundations that built the West.

    But alas, as foreign as it may sound to people who have indoctrinated by the deception that Christianity and science are at war with each other, the fact of the matter is that Christianity, besides providing the necessary epistemological basis in which to practice modern science, Christianity also provides a empirically backed reconcilliation of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the much sought out ‘theory of everything’. In other words, Christianity provides a ‘viable alternative to string/M-theory’.

    Psalm 118:22
    The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.

    of note: Kurt Godel, who proved you cannot have a mathematical ‘Theory of Everything’, without allowing God to bring completeness to the ‘Theory of Everything’, also had this to say:

    The God of the Mathematicians – Goldman
    Excerpt: As Gödel told Hao Wang, “Einstein’s religion [was] more abstract, like Spinoza and Indian philosophy. Spinoza’s god is less than a person; mine is more than a person; because God can play the role of a person.”
    Kurt Gödel – (Gödel is considered one of the greatest logicians who ever existed)

    The main problem with trying to unify General Relativity and Quantum Mehanics into a ‘theory of everything’ is known as the zero/infinity problem,,,

    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.

    Quantum Mechanics and Relativity – The Collapse Of Physics? – video

    Of related note:

    General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are both ‘higher dimensional’ in their mathematical formulation:

    The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences – Eugene Wigner – 1960
    Excerpt: We now have, in physics, two theories of great power and interest: the theory of quantum phenomena and the theory of relativity.,,, The two theories operate with different mathematical concepts: the four dimensional Riemann space and the infinite dimensional Hilbert space,

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann

    Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into how this Zero/Infinity conflict between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics may be dealt with Theologically:

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics
    Excerpt: “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    And, contrary to string/M theory, which has no empirical support, Christianity does have empirical support for its contention that Jesus Christ is ‘The Truth’ which unifies all of reality.
    Specifically, the resurrection of Christ, as is portrayed on the Shroud of Turin, offers evidence that both Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity were brought together into a ‘new singularity’, i.e. into a ‘theory of everything’:

    Turin shroud – ( Particle Physicist explains event horizon) – video

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.

    That gravity, (i.e. General Relativity), was defied in the resurrection of Christ is verified in more detail here:

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.

    That Quantum Mechanics was involved in the resurrection of Christ is verified here:

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.

    Shroud Of Turin Is Authentic, Italian Study Suggests – December 2011
    Excerpt: Last year scientists were able to replicate marks on the cloth using highly advanced ultraviolet techniques that weren’t available 2,000 years ago — nor during the medieval times, for that matter.,,, Since the shroud and “all its facets” still cannot be replicated using today’s top-notch technology, researchers suggest it is impossible that the original image could have been created in either period.

    Scientific hypotheses on the origin of the body image of the Shroud – 2010
    Excerpt: for example, if we consider the density of radiation that we used to color a single square centimeter of linen, to reproduce the entire image of the Shroud with a single flash of light would require fourteen thousand lasers firing simultaneously each on a different area of linen. In other words, it would take a laser light source the size of an entire building.

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”

    Thus, in so far as empirical science is concerned, and considering the abject failure of sting/M theory to provide a coherent ‘theory of everything’, and also considering that there very well may be ‘no viable alternative to string/M-theory’, and despite the rebellion of many scientists against the Christian foundation of modern science, the resurrection of Christ provides us a very credible, empirically backed, even ‘predicted’, unification of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics into the much sought after ‘theory of everything’, i.e. into ‘The Truth’ that all these physicists and mathematicians are looking for:

    Verses and Music:

    John 14:6
    Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

    Matthew 28:18
    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

    Colossians 1:16-19
    For by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him.
    And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
    And He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He might have the preeminence.
    For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell,

    Chris Tomlin – Indescribable

  5. 5
    Peter says:

    What he said.

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