Further to “BBC: Inflation (multiverse) theories only work if supplemented by ‘exotic physics’” (Try this “exotic physics” thing out next time you are disputing a traffic ticket.), here’s what The Guardian reviewer had to say about about a recent exotic physics book, The Singular Universe and the Reality of Time by Roberto Mangabeira Unger and Lee Smolin:
Smolin has not been cowed by the sceptical reception of his ideas to date. And his new book, a broadside against many of the most widely accepted theories in cosmology, is co-written with someone who is even more of a maverick than he is.
Well, that guy has a hard act to follow.
Unger and Smolin want to overturn a picture of cosmology with which many of us are broadly familiar through a hundred different popular accounts. In that version, the universe – and therefore time as part of the space-time continuum – came into being following a big bang 13.8bn years ago. At first the universe was inconceivably tiny but then approximately 10 to the power of minus 37 seconds into the expansion, something called cosmic inflation led to exponential growth and the seeds of what we observe today. Oh and, the theory suggests, ours is just one of an infinite number of universes in the multiverse.
Unger and Smolin say that parts of this model are essentially preposterous. There is, they argue, just one universe. Time is real and the laws of nature are not timeless but evolve. Mathematics is not a description of some separate timeless, Platonic reality, but is a description of the properties of one universe.
Smolin had previously been advocating that black holes produce new universes by “a kind of cosmic version of Darwinian natural selection” in which “the most common universes will be those most suitable for producing black holes.” Maybe he is through with that now?
A friend comments: What’s HAL’s line from 2001? “My mind, it’s going. I can feel it, I can feel it.”
Well, there is another way of looking at this: What Unger and Smolin are doing is what people used to do in the middle ages. There was no means of science discovery of the universe back then so there was a constant war between untestable theories. (Admittedly, different theology but same basic idea.) One needn’t lose one’s mind if one isn’t compelled to fund it or choose sides.
So one needn’t lose one’s mind, but rather remember that in a post-space program age, this sort of thing is called science.
See also: Why cosmology does not need to make sense any more.
Follow UD News at Twitter!