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Does eternally inflating cosmology cause probabilities to fail?

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From John D. Norton:

(2018) Eternal Inflation: When Probabilities Fail. [Preprint]

In eternally inflating cosmology, infinitely many pocket universes are seeded. Attempts to show that universes like our observable universe are probable amongst them have failed, since no unique probability measure is recoverable. This lack of definite probabilities is taken to reveal a complete predictive failure. Inductive inference over the pocket universes, it would seem, is impossible. I argue that this conclusion of impossibility mistakes the nature of the problem. It confuses the case in which no inductive inference is possible, with another in which a weaker inductive logic applies. The alternative, applicable inductive logic is determined by background conditions and is the same, non-probabilistic logic as applies to an infinite lottery. This inductive logic does not preclude all predictions, but does affirm that predictions useful to deciding for or against eternal inflation are precluded. More.

Here’s the pdf (public access).

See also: Cosmic inflation theory loses hangups about the scientific method What if naturalism changes the role of a science program? Perhaps stubbornly contrary evidence merely shows the need for more drive and zeal in generating new naturalist theories, not more reflection and evaluation of that direction.

5 Replies to “Does eternally inflating cosmology cause probabilities to fail?

  1. 1
    harry says:

    The paper concludes with:

    What is the chance of a universe like our own? It is the same as the chance
    of drawing an even number from a fair, infinite lottery.

    I will freely admit that understanding the explanation between the introduction of the paper that was cited in this UD article and its conclusion is well beyond the capabilities of this amateur.

    I have a few questions, though, for anyone who would be kind enough to answer them:

    The paper begins with the assertion that “In eternally inflating cosmology, infinitely many pocket universes are seeded.”

    There is no hard evidence that there are any other universes, of the “pocket” type or any other kind, right?

    That which is available to science for observation is restricted to our Universe. So there cannot ever be hard evidence for the existence of other universes, right?

    If time, space, matter and energy began with the Big Bang then the origin of the one Universe we can observe must remain a mystery to science, since science is restricted to observations of natural realities such as time, space, matter and energy. It can only speculate about the nature of the necessarily existing supernatural reality that brings natural realities into being.

    For my purposes here, by “supernatural reality,” I only mean one that necessarily exists if the Big Bang theory is correct, and the notion of an eternally existing Universe in a “steady state” is incorrect. It is a supernatural reality in the sense that it is a reality to which the laws of physics as we know them do not apply, and must exist since rationality demands that we acknowledge that the Universe didn’t begin without a cause. I am not asserting here that this reality is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, only that its nature is beyond that which can be known by science, and that its existence cannot be rationally denied if the Big Bang theory is correct.

    If space began with the Big Bang, where are other “pocket universes”?

    If time itself began with the Big Bang, and since any event requires time to take place — a “before” the event, a change of some kind, and then the new state of things “after” the event — how did anything else ever happen in other universes without time?

    If one answers that each of an infinity of universes has its own space and time, what exactly is it that separates these universes? Something supernatural and unknowable by science.

    It seems to me that papers such as the one being discussed here create enormous, complex arguments that begin with premises that have no scientific foundation whatsoever.

    So, the odds of another universe like our own existing is “the same as the chance of drawing an even number from a fair, infinite lottery.” Oh really? Anything and everything will eventually take place in an infinite lottery. What does that even mean?

    I have worked for several huge companies in my life. I am reminded of meetings I attended throughout my career the subject matter of which was extremely technical, and the decisions made at them would have significant ramifications for the company I was working for at the time. There was often someone attending who had an agenda of his own who would spew forth official sounding acronyms nobody else was familiar with to intimidate them into agreeing with him. The perpetrator of such fraud was counting on them thinking to themselves “Gosh! I didn’t even know about the QRGP project, much less all that company learned from it about the X29 factor! I didn’t even know there was an X29 factor! I had better just go along with this guy!” There are people who are masters at using “expertise” as a weapon of intimidation until somebody calls their bluff. They are world class smoke-blowers with an agenda.

    Is it my imagination or is some world class smoke-blowing going on with this article and others regarding the existence of other universes?

  2. 2
    LocalMinimum says:

    harry @ 1:

    It reads to me like analytical philosophy, self referenced as “weaker inductive logic” with respect to probability. It’s basically banging on epistemological boundaries with a hammer and noting the sound.

    It seems to be detailing why probability fails when dealing with the product universes of an inflationary superuniverse; that no probabilities can be supported empirically, but must be produced theoretically, or “their expression by probabilities will, in each case, require background conditions that specifically favor it”; and that such a superuniverse is unfalsifiable, or “The alternative, applicable inductive logic…does affirm that predictions useful to deciding for or against eternal inflation are precluded”.

    It sounds to me like a technical confirmation for every fair skepticism held against such a model, though sufficiently wordy to be misreferenced in support of arguments it contradicts.

  3. 3
    Dick says:

    If there are an infinity of universes and every possible universe is represented then it follows that there’s an infinity of universes in which the decomposition of a corpse is reversed and the dead man is revivified.

    Such a reversal is possible, just as it’s possible that all of the low energy molecules of water in a tub of warm water and all the high energy molecules could segregate themselves.

    Since such a revivification must occur somewhere in the multiverse landscape, and an infinite number of times, there’s no reason to think that it didn’t occur in our world.

    We can thank the multiverse theorists for providing us with an answer to Hume. Happy Easter.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The initial purpose of cosmological inflation was to try to explain why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous.
    Yet, Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, states that the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all,,, is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything.

    Cosmic inflation is dead, long live cosmic inflation – 25 September 2014
    Excerpt: (Inflation) theory, the most widely held of cosmological ideas about the growth of our universe after the big bang, explains a number of mysteries, including why the universe is surprisingly flat and so smoothly distributed, or homogeneous.,,,
    Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University, who helped develop inflationary theory but is now scathing of it, says this is potentially a blow for the theory, but that it pales in significance with inflation’s other problems.
    Meet the multiverse
    Steinhardt says the idea that inflationary theory produces any observable predictions at all – even those potentially tested by BICEP2 – is based on a simplification of the theory that simply does not hold true.
    “The deeper problem is that once inflation starts, it doesn’t end the way these simplistic calculations suggest,” he says. “Instead, due to quantum physics it leads to a multiverse where the universe breaks up into an infinite number of patches. The patches explore all conceivable properties as you go from patch to patch. So that means it doesn’t make any sense to say what inflation predicts, except to say it predicts everything. If it’s physically possible, then it happens in the multiverse someplace
    Steinhardt says the point of inflation was to explain a remarkably simple universe. “So the last thing in the world you should be doing is introducing a multiverse of possibilities to explain such a simple thing,” he says. “I think it’s telling us in the clearest possible terms that we should be able to understand this and when we understand it it’s going to come in a model that is extremely simple and compelling. And we thought inflation was it – but it isn’t.”
    http://www.newscientist.com/ar.....CajrGl0y00

    Thus the theory that was suppose to explain why the universe is so flat and homogeneous, (i.e. round), doesn’t actually predict the universe to be flat and homogeneous, (i.e. round).

    And as the old saying goes, a scientific theory that predicts everything predicts nothing at all.
    Max Tegmark himself also admitted that inflation sabotages our ability to make useful predictions. In fact, he stated that because of inflation “we physicists are no longer able to predict anything at all!”

    WHAT SCIENTIFIC IDEA IS READY FOR RETIREMENT? Infinity – Max Tegmark – January 2014 and Feb. 2015
    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!
    – MAX TEGMARK
    http://blogs.discovermagazine......OsRyS7cBCA

    Bruce Gordon also has an excellent critique of the inflation model:

    A Matter of Considerable Gravity: On the Purported Detection of Gravitational Waves and Cosmic Inflation – Bruce Gordon – April 4, 2014
    Excerpt: Thirdly, at least two paradoxes result from the inflationary multiverse proposal that suggest our place in such a multiverse must be very special: the “Boltzmann Brain Paradox” and the “Youngness Paradox.” In brief, if the inflationary mechanism is autonomously operative in a way that generates a multiverse, then with probability indistinguishable from one (i.e., virtual necessity) the typical observer in such a multiverse is an evanescent thermal fluctuation with memories of a past that never existed (a Boltzmann brain) rather than an observer of the sort we take ourselves to be. Alternatively, by a second measure, post-inflationary universes should overwhelmingly have just been formed, which means that our existence in an old universe like our own has a probability that is effectively zero (i.e., it’s nigh impossible). So if our universe existed as part of such a multiverse, it would not be at all typical, but rather infinitely improbable (fine-tuned) with respect to its age and compatibility with stable life-forms.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....84001.html

    Moreover, the inflationary model is now contradicted by the latest Planck findings.

    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!”.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2CWaLU6eMI

    What is curious about these ‘anomalies’ (that cannot be explained by the ‘simple’ inflation model of materialists), is that these ‘anomalies’ in the Cosmic Background Radiation strangely line up with the earth and solar system.

    What Is Evil About The Axis Of Evil? – February 17, 2015
    The Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) Radiation contains small temperature fluctuations.
    When these temperature fluctuations are analyzed using image processing techniques (specifically spherical harmonics), they indicate a special direction in space, or, in a sense, an axis through the universe. This axis is correlated back to us, and causes many difficulties for the current big bang and standard cosmology theories. What has been discovered is shocking.
    Two scientists, Kate Land and João Magueijo, in a paper in 2005 describing the axis, dubbed it the “Axis of Evil” because of the damage it does to current theories, and (tongue in cheek) as a response to George Bush’ Axis of Evil speech regarding Iraq, Iran and, North Korea.
    (Youtube clip on site)
    In the above video, Max Tegmark describes in a simplified way how spherical harmonics analysis decomposes the small temperature fluctuations into more averaged and spatially arranged temperature components, known as multipoles.
    The “Axis of Evil” correlates to the earth’s ecliptic and equinoxes, and this represents a very unusual and unexpected special direction in space, a direct challenge to the Copernican Principle.
    http://www.theprinciplemovie.com/evil-axis-evil/

    At the 13:55 minute mark of this following video, Max Tegmark, an atheist, finally admits, post Planck 2013, that the CMBR anomalies do indeed line up with the earth and solar system

    “Thoughtcrime: The Conspiracy to Stop The Principle” – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=0eVUSDy_rO0#t=832

    Moreover, it is important to note just how ‘flat’ the universe is.

    The topology of the universe is now found to be the least likely of all topologies. Absolute flatness. John Gribbin commented that “Finding the Universe in a state of even approximate flatness today is even less likely than finding a perfectly sharpened pencil balancing on its point for millions of years,,, any deviation of the Universe from flatness in the Big Bang would have grown, and grown markedly, as the Universe expanded and aged.”

    “The Universe today is actually very close to the most unlikely state of all, absolute flatness. And that means it must have been born in an even flatter state, as Dicke and Peebles, two of the Princeton astronomers involved in the discovery of the 3 K background radiation, pointed out in 1979. Finding the Universe in a state of even approximate flatness today is even less likely than finding a perfectly sharpened pencil balancing on its point for millions of years, for, as Dicke and Peebles pointed out, any deviation of the Universe from flatness in the Big Bang would have grown, and grown markedly, as the Universe expanded and aged. Like the pencil balanced on its point and given the tiniest nudges, the Universe soon shifts away from perfect flatness.”
    ~ John Gribbin, In Search of the Big Bang – 2000

    The universe is flat as a pancake. Coincidence? – Oct. 2016
    Excerpt: NEXT time you fancy doing something really frustrating, try balancing a pencil on its sharpened tip. Your efforts will succeed for a second at most. Yet the universe has been succeeding at a similar gravitational trick for the last 13.8 billion years.,,,
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23230970-800-cosmic-coincidences-the-universe-is-flat-as-a-pancake/

    Moreover, by analyzing the tiny variations in the temperature of this background radiation researchers have now found that “These tiny temperature variations correspond to the largest scale structures of the observable universe. A region that was a fraction of a degree warmer become a vast galaxy cluster, hundreds of millions of light-years across.”
    The researchers go on to state, “if the universe was curved in any way, these temperature variations would appear distorted compared to the actual size than we see these structures today.
    But they’re not.
    Our best scientific instruments can’t detect any distortion at all between the tiny temperature variations in the microwave background and the largest scale structures of the observable universe.

    How do we know the universe is flat? Discovering the topology of the universe – by Fraser Cain – June 7, 2017
    Excerpt: With the most sensitive space-based telescopes they have available, astronomers are able to detect tiny variations in the temperature of this background radiation.
    And here’s the part that blows my mind every time I think about it. These tiny temperature variations correspond to the largest scale structures of the observable universe. A region that was a fraction of a degree warmer become a vast galaxy cluster, hundreds of millions of light-years across.
    The cosmic microwave background radiation just gives and gives, and when it comes to figuring out the topology of the universe, it has the answer we need. If the universe was curved in any way, these temperature variations would appear distorted compared to the actual size that we see these structures today.
    But they’re not. To best of its ability, ESA’s Planck space telescope, can’t detect any distortion at all. The universe is flat.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-06-universe-flat-topology.html

  5. 5
    bornagain77 says:

    As well, the researchers go on to state that, the universe must have been flat to 1 part within 1×10^57 parts over its entire 13.8 billion years of expansion.,,, Which seems like an insane coincidence.

    How do we know the universe is flat? Discovering the topology of the universe – by Fraser Cain – June 7, 2017
    Excerpt: Since the universe is flat now, it must have been flat in the past, when the universe was an incredibly dense singularity. And for it to maintain this level of flatness over 13.8 billion years of expansion, in kind of amazing.
    In fact, astronomers estimate that the universe must have been flat to 1 part within 1×10^57 parts.
    Which seems like an insane coincidence.
    https://phys.org/news/2017-06-universe-flat-topology.html

    Thus, the Theist, with the 1 part within 1×10^57 parts finding for the flatness of the universe can claim another fairly incredible piece of evidence for the fine tuning of the universe.
    As the following author commented,,, there are,,, no laws of physics that predict or restrict the topology of the universe to be flat.

    Yes, the world (universe) really is flat – December 8, 2016
    Excerpt: The universe has all sorts of deformations in space-time where it varies from the perfectly flat. Any place where there’s mass or energy, there’s a corresponding bending of space-time — that’s General Relativity 101. So a couple light beams would naturally collide inside a wandering black hole, or bend along weird angles after encountering a galaxy or two.
    But average all those small-scale effects out and look at the big picture. When we examine very old light — say, the cosmic microwave background — that has been traveling the universe for more than 13.8 billion years, we get a true sense of the universe’s shape. And the answer, as far as we can tell, to within an incredibly small margin of uncertainty, is that the universe is flat.,,,
    ,,, but there are also no laws of physics that predict or restrict the topology.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....y-is-flat/

    Besides inflation theory’s abject failure to predict such an ‘insane coincidence’ of 1 part within 1×10^57 flatness for the universe over its entire history, (or to predict anything else that is useful for science), under Atheistic Naturalism there is no reason to presuppose that the constants of physics should remain constant in the first place. As the following astronomer commented, “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,”

    Scientists Question Nature’s Fundamental Laws – Michael Schirber – 2006
    Excerpt: “There is absolutely no reason these constants should be constant,” says astronomer Michael Murphy of the University of Cambridge. “These are famous numbers in physics, but we have no real reason for why they are what they are.”
    The observed differences are small-roughly a few parts in a million-but the implications are huge (if they hold up): The laws of physics would have to be rewritten, not to mention we might need to make room for six more spatial dimensions than the three that we are used to.”,,,
    The speed of light, for instance, might be measured one day with a ruler and a clock. If the next day the same measurement gave a different answer, no one could tell if the speed of light changed, the ruler length changed, or the clock ticking changed.
    http://www.space.com/2613-scie.....-laws.html

    One final note, in inflation theory’s abject failure to explain why the universe is smooth and flat, or to ‘predict’ anything else about the universe that is useful for science, it is interesting to note that the Bible successfully predicted that the universe is flat and also happened to predict that it is round and/or homogeneous.

    Job 38:4-5
    “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
    Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    Proverbs 8:26-27
    While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primeval dust of the world. When He prepared the heavens, I was there, when He drew a circle on the face of the deep,

    Job 26:10
    He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters at the boundary between light and darkness.

    And here is a illustration of the Microwave Background where you can clearly see for yourself the ‘circle of the universe’

    Picture of Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR)
    http://new-universe.org/zenpho.....rams47.jpg

    Thus, since lack of predictability is considered one of the primary failures of the inflationary model as a scientific theory, then why is not the success of the Theistic model in predicting the homogeneity, (i.e. roundness), and flatness of the universe not considered a stunning confirmation for Theism?
    Perhaps for the same exact reason that atheistic astrophysicists have rejected the Big Bang as stunning confirmation for the Theistic prediction for the beginning of the universe. Such evidence simply does not fit into their a-priori atheistic worldview:

    “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),

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