Multiverse News

Multiverse bubble bust?

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Of all sources you wouldn’t expect to admit this, Nature explains:

When a team of cosmologists announced at a press conference in March that they had detected gravitational waves generated in the first instants after the Big Bang, the origins of the Universe were once again major news. The reported discovery created a worldwide sensation in the scientific community, the media and the public at large .

According to the team at the BICEP2 South Pole telescope, the detection is at the 5–7 sigma level, so there is less than one chance in two million of it being a random occurrence. The results were hailed as proof of the Big Bang inflationary theory and its progeny, the multiverse. Nobel prizes were predicted and scores of theoretical models spawned. The announcement also influenced decisions about academic appointments and the rejections of papers and grants. It even had a role in governmental planning of large-scale projects.

But then it all bust.

I (O’Leary for News) remember being at dinner parties where people were predicting human immortality from this stuff. Then bust.

So we are not legally required to teach or learn this nonsense in school?

Why did anyone needed to believe it? See The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology).

13 Replies to “Multiverse bubble bust?

  1. 1
    Querius says:

    Since when was the multiverse speculation linked to the inflation theory?

    The former is completely untestable and useless, suitable only for philosophy and science fiction; the latter attempts to explain the measurable red shift, why stars and galaxies are all receding from us, and why some galaxies seem to be moving faster than the speed of light to list the more obvious effects.


  2. 2
    ppolish says:

    Linde, Querius, who did the math on inflation also does the math on multiverse.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    It is nice to see Dr. Sheldon vindicated.

  4. 4
    udat says:

    Hmmm, where have I heard this before…

    The BICEP2 incident has also revealed a truth about inflationary theory. The common view is that it is a highly predictive theory. If that was the case and the detection of gravitational waves was the ‘smoking gun’ proof of inflation, one would think that non-detection means that the theory fails. Such is the nature of normal science. Yet some proponents of inflation who celebrated the BICEP2 announcement already insist that the theory is equally valid whether or not gravitational waves are detected. How is this possible?

    The answer given by proponents is alarming: the inflationary paradigm is so flexible that it is immune to experimental and observational tests.

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    Now that the multiverse bubble has burst, it is interesting to note that at about the same time, (mid-March 2014), as the now falsified gravitation-wave findings were released with great fanfare to the public, another paper was also released to the public. The paper was released much less fanfare from the press. In fact I don’t think a single major science news source covered the release of the paper then nor have any covered it since. The ‘pre-print’ paper was released at, of all places, a church in New Orleans during the Craig-Carroll debate at the “Greer-Heard Point/Counterpoint Forum on Cosmology and Existence of God”. The paper, like the gravitational wave findings, also deals with reading certain properties of light coming from the early universe. But what dramatically separates these two papers/findings is that, one, the Intelligent Design paper featured a unquestionable prescient prediction prior to the discovery of the evidence supporting its hypothesis, and two, the evidence discovered for the hypothesis is far more trustworthy/robust in its integrity than the polarisation evidence for gravitational waves turned out to be. Here is that Intelligent Design paper that was, and still is, ignored by the larger scientific community:

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
    Prediction: DLO: Within the range of values of a given parameter p that yield near – optimal livability, p will fall into that subrange of values that maximize discoverability (given constraints of elegance are not violated).
    In every case that I was able to make calculations regarding whether the fundamental parameters of physics are optimized in this way, they appear to pass the test.[iv] This alone is significant since this hypothesis is falsifiable in the sense that one could find data that potentially disconfirms it – namely, cases in which as best as we can determining, such as a case in which changing the value of a fundamental parameter – such as the fine – structure constant – increases discoverability while not negatively affecting livability.[v] Below, I will look at a case from cosmology where this thesis could have been disconfirmed but was not.,,,
    The most dramatic confirmation of the discoverability/livability optimality thesis (DLO) is the dependence of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMB) on the baryon to photon ratio.,,,
    …the intensity of CMB depends on the photon to baryon ratio, (??b), which is the ratio of the average number of photons per unit volume of space to the average number of baryons (protons plus neutrons) per unit volume. At present this ratio is approximately a billion to one (10^9) , but it could beanywhere from one to infinity; it traces back to the degree of asymmetry in matter and anti – matter right after the beginning of the universe – for approximately every billion particles of antimatter, there was a billion and one particles of matter.,,,
    The only livability effect this ratio has is on whether or not galaxies can form that have near – optimally livability zones. As long as this condition is met, the value of this ratio has no further effects on livability. Hence, the DLO predicts that within this range, the value of this ratio will be such as to maximize the intensity of the CMB as observed by typical observers.
    According to my calculations – which have been verified by three other physicists — to within the margin of error of the experimentally determined parameters (~20%), the value of the photon to baryon ratio is such that it maximizes the CMB. This is shown in Figure 1 below. (pg. 13)
    It is easy to see that this prediction could have been disconfirmed. In fact, when I first made the calculations in the fall of 2011, I made a mistake and thought I had refuted this thesis since those calculations showed the intensity of the CMB maximizes at a value different than the photon – baryon ratio in our universe. So, not only does the DLO lead us to expect this ratio, but it provides an ultimate explanation for why it has this value,,, This is a case of a teleological thesis serving both a predictive and an ultimate explanatory role.,,,

    Here is a video of Dr. Collins announcing/outlining the paper:

    Greer Heard Forum: Robin Collins – “God and the Fine-Tuning of the Universe for Discovery” – video

    Another thing that dramatically separates these two papers/findings is that the first paper, as dubious and weak as its evidence was, was anti-design in its implication. Whereas the second paper, as clear and strong as its evidence is, was pro Intelligent Design in its implication.

    But why would a finding that would point away from God garner so much media hype, whereas another finding strongly pointing to God, as well as restoring a sense of purpose and dignity to humans as a ‘privileged species’, be so resolutely ignored? Such unbalanced reactions by the media is beyond bizarre! Contrary to what the big media seems bent on believing, it is VERY GOOD NEWS to know that God cares for us and that our lives really do have true purpose and meaning.

    Of related note:

    “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive.
    It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For this is what the LORD says– he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited– he says: “I am the LORD, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.

    Coldplay – Yellow (The Stars Shine For you)

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    ‘it is VERY GOOD NEWS to know that God cares for us.’

    No it isn’t. And he doesn’t. He’s mean and nasty, so I’m not going to believe in him. And you can tell hm that from me!

  7. 7
    ppolish says:

    This recent lecture by Nima Arkani-Hamed outlines the current Fine-Tuning landscape:

    Part2, which he mentions often in Part1 above, has just hit YouTube FYI.

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    “And you can tell hm that from me!”

    But you can tell Him that yourself!

    It’s not like He lives in Tiber.

  9. 9
    StephenA says:


    He’s mean and nasty, so I’m not going to believe in him. And you can tell hm that from me!

    You uh… you do know how incredibly childish that sounds, right?

    Besides, even if he is as mean and nasty as you say, that’s no reason to claim he does not exist. Surely you agree that we should seek the truth and not bury our heads in the sand when we discover things with unpleasant implications for us.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    ppolish: The Amplituhedron – Nima Arkani-Hamed, Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. – video

    Background notes:

    Bohemian Gravity – Rob Sheldon – September 19, 2013
    Excerpt: Quanta magazine carried an article about a hypergeometric object that is as much better than Feynman diagrams as Feynman was better than Heisenberg’s S-matrices. But the discoverers are candid about it,
    “The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: locality and unitarity. “Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nima Arkani-Hamed, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which he is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “Both are suspect.””
    What are these suspect principles? None other than two of the founding principles of materialism–that there do not exist “spooky-action-at-a-distance” forces, and that material causes are the only ones in the universe.,,,

    A Jewel at the Heart of Quantum Physics – September 17, 2013
    Excerpt: The amplituhedron itself does not describe gravity. But Arkani-Hamed and his collaborators think there might be a related geometric object that does.,,,
    But the new amplituhedron research suggests space-time, and therefore dimensions, may be illusory anyway.,,, Even without unitarity and locality, the amplituhedron formulation of quantum field theory does not yet incorporate gravity. But researchers are working on it.,,,
    Beyond making (quantum field theory) calculations easier or possibly leading the way to quantum gravity, the discovery of the amplituhedron could cause an even more profound shift, Arkani-Hamed said. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of the universe arose out of pure geometry.

  11. 11
    ppolish says:

    Thanks for the links BA77. The Amplituhedron paper last year started my interest in following Nima.

    Below is a link to Part2 of his recent Oxford talk on the multiverse. He states early on that Multiverse Characterization (not Theory) is speculation on top of speculation on top of speculation – but we should not be “scaredy cats” and run away.

    Mima’s schtick is “Space-Time is Doomed” and that a “New Physics” is needed and is approaching. Multiverse may make sense in the “New Physics” per Nima.

    He also points out what would make him Religious at about 25mins into lecture:
    Since both the CosmologicalConstant & HiggsMass are both so close to Dangerous Places (ie fine-tuned)
    1) if there was a unique underlying vacuum.
    2) if there was no anthropic explanation.
    3) If these fine-tunes come from “some underlying formula with Pi’s & E’s & Golden Ratios & Zeta Functions and stuff like that”
    4) I, Nima, would become Religious

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    ppolish, I wonder what he would think of Collins and Denton’s findings? It seems to me that those findings go one better than what he what would require to become ‘religious’ in that the findings directly implicate that the universe was designed specifically with man in mind. i.e. The wiggle room is far tighter for any alternative naturalistic explanation. Moreover, in watching the Amplituhedron lecture, I kept thinking that for Nima Arkani-Hamed, his primary philosophical position is basically ‘In the beginning was the math’, yet, not to disparage Nima Arkani-Hamed’s work, Gödel, who also was at Princeton, dismantled the notion that math will ever be a complete description of reality.

  13. 13
    ppolish says:

    BA, Collin’s and Denton’s findings reveal fine-tuning within fine-tuning yikes. And Awesome.

    Arkani-Hamed states he would become Religious at the first level of “unnatural” fine-tuning, so the additional Collins/Denton fine-tuning would be like “preaching to the choir”:)

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