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Re yesterday’s announcement: So what are gravitational waves?

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Universe Fate-1 Accelerating Universe In the wake of “Signal detected for cosmic microwave background’s polarization ”:

One (out of very many) theories holds that the way the CMB can get polarized, is if gravity waves from the original BB are amplified by this idea of “inflation” that expanded the universe by a gazillion times right after it banged. So this observation is being touted as a double-header—the first observation of gravity waves, and the first observation of inflation. We could toss the Easter bunny in there too, at this point it looks like it’s the first observation of all sorts of invisible things.

FYI: Here’s a q&a on gravitational waves from New Scientist, fetchingly called “Einstein’s ripples”:

Albert Einstein compared the universe’s shape to a single fabric, hewn from space and time. According to his theory of general relativity, the force of gravity is the result of curvature in this space-time: gravitational waves are ripples in it. The ripples are produced by accelerating objects, just as an accelerating electric charge emits electromagnetic waves.

Colliding black holes and stars create modern-day gravitational waves. But cosmologists also believe the big bang itself produced primordial waves that still reverberate through space-time. It is these ripples, dating back to a fraction of a second after the birth of the universe, that the BICEP2 researchers have detected.

(Gravitational waves should not be confused with gravity waves, a term used in the study of fluids to refer to waves on a surface that propagate because of gravity.) More.

Gravitational waves:

Cosmic microwave background, from a year ago:

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5 Replies to “Re yesterday’s announcement: So what are gravitational waves?

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    It would not surprise me in the least if this finding of gravitational waves from the creation of the universe holds up. The signal did surpass sigma 5 by the way which is, as far as I know, a very strong indication that the measurement is not a fluke. As well many other predictions of general relativity have held up quite well to rigid testing:

    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.

    “When this paper was published (referring to the circa 1970 Hawking, Penrose paper) we could only prove General Relativity’s reliability to 1% precision, today we can prove it to 15 places of decimal.”
    Hugh Ross PhD. Astrophysics – quote taken from 8:40 mark of the following link
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF1xSErF_f4

    The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science – May 5, 2011
    Excerpt: So, which of the two (general relativity or QED) is The Most Precisely Tested Theory in the History of Science?
    It’s a little tough to quantify a title like that, but I think relativity can claim to have tested the smallest effects. Things like the aluminum ion clock experiments showing shifts in the rate of a clock set moving at a few m/s, or raised by a foot, measure relativistic shifts of a few parts in 10^16. That is, if one clock ticks 10,000,000,000,000,000 times, the other ticks 9,999,999,999,999,999 times. That’s an impressively tiny effect, but the measured value is in good agreement with the predictions of relativity.
    In the end, though, I have to give the nod to QED, because while the absolute effects in relativity may be smaller, the precision of the measurements in QED is more impressive. Experimental tests of relativity measure tiny shifts, but to only a few decimal places. Experimental tests of QED measure small shifts, but to an absurd number of decimal places. The most impressive of these is the “anomalous magnetic moment of the electron,” expressed is terms of a number g whose best measured value is:
    g/2 = 1.001 159 652 180 73 (28)
    Depending on how you want to count it, that’s either 11 or 14 digits of precision (the value you would expect without QED is exactly 1, so in some sense, the shift really starts with the first non-zero decimal place), which is just incredible. And QED correctly predicts all those decimal places (at least to within the measurement uncertainty, given by the two digits in parentheses at the end of that).
    http://scienceblogs.com/princi.....sted-theo/

    Quantum Foam Paper Suggests Einstein Was Right About Space-Time Being ‘Smooth’ – January 2013
    Excerpt: It appears Albert Einstein may have been right yet again.
    A team of researchers came to this conclusion after tracing the long journey three photons took through intergalactic space. The photons were blasted out by an intense explosion known as a gamma-ray burst about 7 billion light-years from Earth. They finally barreled into the detectors of NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope in May 2009, arriving just a millisecond apart.
    Their dead-heat finish strongly supports the Einsteinian view of space-time, researchers said. The wavelengths of gamma-ray burst photons are so small that they should be able to interact with the even tinier “bubbles” in the quantum theorists’ proposed space-time foam.
    If this foam indeed exists, the three photons should have been knocked around a bit during their epic voyage. In such a scenario, the chances of all three reaching the Fermi telescope at virtually the same time are very low, researchers said.
    So the new study is a strike against the foam’s existence as currently imagined,,, “If foaminess exists at all, we think it must be at a scale far smaller than the Planck length,”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....49734.html

    Dark energy alternatives to Einstein are running out of room – January 9, 2013
    Excerpt: Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished and found that there has been no change in the ratio to one part in 10 million at a time when the universe was about half its current age, around 7 billion years ago. When Thompson put this new measurement into his calculations, he found that it excluded almost all of the dark energy models using the commonly expected values or parameters.
    If the parameter space or range of values is equated to a football field, then almost the whole field is out of bounds except for a single 2-inch by 2-inch patch at one corner of the field. In fact, most of the allowed values are not even on the field. “In effect, the dark energy theories have been playing on the wrong field,” Thompson said. “The 2-inch square does contain the area that corresponds to no change in the fundamental constants, (a ‘true cosmological constant’), and that is exactly where Einstein stands.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-01-d.....-room.html

    But, the whole trouble I have with inflationary models is not the fact that the universe did, and is currently, expanding. In fact I consider the present 1 in 10^120 expansion of the universe to be one of the most powerful evidences of fine-tuning for the universe.

    Cosmological constant
    Excerpt: the measured cosmological constant is smaller than this by a factor of 10^-120. This discrepancy has been called “the worst theoretical prediction in the history of physics!”.[14]
    Some supersymmetric theories require a cosmological constant that is exactly zero, which further complicates things. This is the cosmological constant problem, the worst problem of fine-tuning in physics: there is no known natural way to derive the tiny cosmological constant used in cosmology from particle physics.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....redictions

    Hugh Ross PhD. – Scientific Evidence For Cosmological Constant (1 in 10^120 Expansion Of The Universe)
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347218/

    Job 9:8
    He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.

    The Truman Show – Truman walking on water – screenshot picture
    http://gaowsh.files.wordpress......0-pm-2.jpg

    The trouble I have with some models of inflation (apparently, as far as I know, there are many different models of inflation you can choose from) is the materialistic/atheistic metaphysical baggage that is attached to some of the models. For instance, I believe the materialistic version of ‘eternal inflation’ in which infinite parallel universes are created, which, I believe, Tegmark favors, leads to the epistemological failure of science.

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Infinity – Max Tegmark – January 2014
    Excerpt: Physics is all about predicting the future from the past, but inflation seems to sabotage this: when we try to predict the probability that something particular will happen, inflation always gives the same useless answer: infinity divided by infinity. The problem is that whatever experiment you make, inflation predicts that there will be infinitely many copies of you far away in our infinite space, obtaining each physically possible outcome, and despite years of tooth-grinding in the cosmology community, no consensus has emerged on how to extract sensible answers from these infinities. So strictly speaking, we physicists are no longer able to predict anything at all!
    This means that today’s best theories similarly need a major shakeup, by retiring an incorrect assumption. Which one?
    Here’s my prime suspect: infinity. (actually the ‘theory’ that needs to be retired is the philosophy of materialism in general)
    MAX TEGMARK – Physicist
    http://www.theguardian.com/sci.....t-edge-org

    In fact the epistemological failure of science, that results from a materialistic/naturalistic presupposition, extends into Darwinism itself:

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Yet the very success of science testifies to the fact that our cognitive faculties are trustworthy and therefore the materialistic presupposition must therefore be incorrect:

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Even an prominent atheistic philosopher agrees that there is something fundamentally ‘incomplete’ with materialistic theories:

    Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False – Thomas Nagel
    Excerpt: If materialism cannot accommodate consciousness and other mind-related aspects of reality, then we must abandon a purely materialist understanding of nature in general, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology. Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history.
    http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/pro.....9919758.do

    Indeed, to even ‘do science’, one is forced to presuppose a perspective outside the physical order:

    Sam Harris’s Free Will: The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It – Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....66221.html

    Physicalism and Reason – May 2013
    Summary: So we find ourselves affirming two contradictory propositions:
    1. Everything is governed by cause-and-effect.
    2. Our brains can process and be changed by ground-consequent logical relationships.
    To achieve consistency, we must either deny that everything is governed by cause-and-effect, and open our worldviews to something beyond physicalism, or we must deny that our brains are influenced by ground-consequence reasoning, and abandon the idea that we are rational creatures.
    Ask yourself: are humans like falling dominoes, entirely subject to natural law, or may we stand up and walk in the direction that reason shows us?
    http://www.reasonsforgod.org/2.....nd-reason/

    In fact, free will is found to be ‘axiomatic’ to quantum mechanics:

    Can quantum theory be improved? – July 23, 2012
    Excerpt: ,, the physicists have experimentally demonstrated that there cannot exist any alternative theory that increases the predictive probability of quantum theory by more than 0.165, with the only assumption being that measurement (*conscious observation) parameters can be chosen independently (free choice/free will assumption) of the other parameters of the theory.,,,
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-quantum-theory.html

    What Does Quantum Physics Have to Do with Free Will? – By Antoine Suarez – July 22, 2013
    Excerpt: What is more, recent experiments are bringing to light that the experimenter’s free will and consciousness should be considered axioms (founding principles) of standard quantum physics theory. So for instance, in experiments involving “entanglement” (the phenomenon Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”), to conclude that quantum correlations of two particles are nonlocal (i.e. cannot be explained by signals traveling at velocity less than or equal to the speed of light), it is crucial to assume that the experimenter can make free choices, and is not constrained in what orientation he/she sets the measuring devices.
    To understand these implications it is crucial to be aware that quantum physics is not only a description of the material and visible world around us, but also speaks about non-material influences coming from outside the space-time.,,,
    https://www.bigquestionsonline.com/content/what-does-quantum-physics-have-do-free-will

    Mind is simply an integral part of science, and quantum mechanics, that refuses to be brushed under the rug:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist). (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    Moreover, an experiment has been proposed that could very well show gravity itself, like photons, to be in superposition until someone looks at it (which would, by default, subsume general relativity as somehow ’emerging’ from quantum mechanics):

    Physicists Eye Quantum-Gravity Interface -Oct. 31, 2013
    Excerpt: Gravity curves space and time around massive objects. What happens when such objects are put in quantum superpositions, causing space-time to curve in two different ways?,,,
    Markus Aspelmeyer, a professor of physics at the University of Vienna, is equally optimistic. His group is developing three separate experiments at the quantum-gravity interface — two for the lab and one for an orbiting satellite.,, Many physicists expect quantum theory to prevail. They believe the ball on a spring should, in principle, be able to exist in two places at once, just as a photon can. The ball’s gravitational field should be able to interfere with itself in a quantum superposition, just as the photon’s electromagnetic field does. “I don’t see why these concepts of quantum theory that have proven to be right for the case of light should fail for the case of gravity,” Aspelmeyer said.
    But the incompatibility of general relativity and quantum mechanics itself suggests that gravity might behave differently.
    https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20131031-physicists-eye-quantum-gravity-interface/

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    supplemental note, both quantum mechanics and general relativity required ‘higher dimensional mathematics to be elucidated before they could be formulated:

    The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss and Riemann – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/

    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,
    http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc.....igner.html

    Yet mathematics is shown to be incomplete:

    Kurt Gödel – Incompleteness Theorem – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8462821

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ematicians

    Thus the question becomes, what brings completeness to these mathematical equations so that they have a universe to describe? i.e. mathematics cannot be held to be ‘true’ unless an assumption for a highest transcendent infinity is held to be true. A highest infinity which Cantor, and even Godel, held to be God.

    BRUCE GORDON: Hawking’s irrational arguments – October 2010
    Excerpt: 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.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com.....arguments/

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time ….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.
    http://tofspot.blogspot.com/20.....-here.html

    Verse and Music:

    Proverbs 21:30
    There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.

    Mercyme – All Of Creation –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkdniYsUrM8

  4. 4
    Mapou says:

    BA77 @1:

    It would not surprise me in the least if this finding of gravitational waves from the creation of the universe holds up.

    It’s all a bunch of BS, wishful thinking at best. When all you got is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail. Those scientists want so desperately for there to be gravitational waves, so everything points to gravitational waves. There is exactly zero evidence for such waves.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Dr. Sheldon offers a sobering view over all the gravity wave hoopla:
    Bang for the Buck: What the BICEP2 Consortium’s Discovery Means – Rob Sheldon – March 19, 2014
    Excerpt: Turning to theorists, the team looked at whether this effect was predicted by the models. Reconstructing the probable scenario, somebody dragged up a gravity wave model of the early universe and said that if the matter was compressed in one direction, say by a gravity wave, then the CMB light would get preferentially polarized. But the effect was way too small to explain the data. Then somebody else had a brainstorm and suggested that inflation would flatten the background but not the foreground, effectively making the signal stand out or become amplified. Since all these models have three or four dials, the theorists feverishly got to work and found a setting of the dials that matched the data. (One of common pitfalls of all modelers is to confuse curve fitting with prediction — to confuse the assumptions of the model with the conclusions of the fit.)
    Now the BICEP2 consortium had the opposite problem. They had first struggled with too big a signal for the theory, and now they had too important a theory for the signal. They spent another year double-checking, trying out alternative explanations, waiting for confirmation. The replacement for BICEP2, the Keck, went into operation and when it saw the same signal, they felt confident enough to release their paper.
    Isn’t this the very model of propriety in science — careful measurement, skeptical modeling, confirmatory measurements, cautious publication? Why then do I give this paper a 1 in 10^60 chance of being correct?
    Two independent models that have never been confirmed are both needed to process the data and arrive at an explanation. Two extremely unlikely chance coincidences — since the two models are not related to each other — are needed to produce the effect. Multiple dials in each unconfirmed theory having unconstrained parameters have to be adjusted to get the model to agree. There are just too many ways in which the assumptions of the modelers are unconsciously affecting the results for this to be believed. As Richard Feynman said about physics, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool.”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....83451.html

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